Saturday, March 10, 2018

When I Am Just Too Tired

FiveminuteFriday (on Saturday)
Five minutes of thoughts into words.

Ps 62:1 “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him”.
My actions tell me when I'm overtired:

Like the time I worked overnight and couldn't get the proper sleep for ten months andmended up not knowing my name or what day it was half the time.

Or the time I was driving with some ladies to a Bible retreat after working all night long. The first thing I did was go through the easy pass without having an easy pass transponder in my car. I argued with them until they refused to go unless I surrendered my control.

And then one day I went to make coffee and instead of putting coffee in the filter, I put the cat food. Multi-tasking is not my forte when tired. Luckily I noticed in time.

What about the time I baked oatmeal cookies and while eating them I realized I had left out the oatmeal. They became brown sugar, raisin cookies. A new recipe is born.

Some things make for good stories later, but not all. The most frequent and obvious telltale sign of my lack of sleep is my emotions. I tend to get very annoyed very quickly.

Stress, anxiety or poor decisions are all factors of sleep deprivation. A scripture that comes to mind is Romans 12:1, 2 “Therefore I urge you,  brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not conformed to the pattern of this world,  but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Whereas there is responsibility and definite work to be done and concern to be had in this world,  I need to examine the patterns of the world by which I shape my life. Renewing (waking up, strengthening,  regenerating) my mind to Christ's will transform me more and more. Tired should be healthy and sleep, restful.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Make Despair the Pathway to Hope
Just rough drafts and maybe incomplete thoughts to whet your appetite for the Word of God
Todays word is ‘regret'

But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. “My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside. Job 23:10, 11

Do I have regrets? Am I sorry for careless decisions and impulsive acts of my will and passions? Is regret the same as repentance? Do I look at my consequences and just wish nothing had ever happened the way it has transpired? What about God,  does he regret me as he regretted creating man before the flood? That's what it says in Genesis 6. Is God a God who repents and regrets what He has done? Num 23:19 “God is not a man,  that he should lie; neither the son of man,  that he should repent….” Is that contradictory?

Where it is true we all make mistakes and suffer consequences,  our hope is in the redemption of God rather than the remorse of our fallen wills. The way to redemption is through our godly sorrow. It works to salvation not to be repented of.

I can,  and often do,  regret things all day long. I think we have to always keep a check on ourselves,  not to lead us to despair but to remind us of the perfect salvation we possess. Grace shows us our inheritance but does not diminish our responsibility. God hates our sin. Before the flood He had foreknowledge. He saw the wickedness of man. One translation says “it repented Him”,  it all brought sorrow and grief to His heart to know they would never respond anyway no matter what He did. He saves whosoever wills but He knows who they are.

Frank Sinatra made the song famous “Regrets,  I've had a few,  but then again,  too few to mention.”  I wonder if now he would do it his own way.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Why the prompt is 'why'

//Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord. And He will have compassion on him,  and to our God,  for he will abundantly pardon. For your thoughts are not my thoughts,  nor are your ways My ways,  declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth,  so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts”. (NASB) Is 55:7-9

I see people hugging one another with comfort and tears and even some laughter. I greet some I haven't seen for a long time. I sit beside one woman who I have met a few times,  really a relative by marriage,  but we have never spent any real time together. People are dressed,  some in jeans,  others in slacks, some in skirts and dresses. Some men have ties,  as well as others in sweatshirts. We are together,  yet I feel apart,  except for those I am sitting with and a few I know. I have never met the one for whom the funeral is for,  yet I am friends with his mother. Even her, with our schedules, we ave not been spending much time together.//

I ask Jesus,  quietly,  in my heart,  “Why”,  why do we care about the way people are dressed at an event? Why don't I purpose to make room in my life for those I used to spend so much time with? My thoughts wander to others who are not an active presence any longer.

As I watch and wonder and ask, voices settle into quiet and eyes focus forward as the service begins. My eyes are attentive,  but my question still lingers. I quietly say to my friend beside me,  “We are just all people who need God.”

I never heard a word about clothes. No one chided me for not spending time with them. I know we all have these why questions. I think the answer is “we are just all people who need God. One day we will know the why of it all.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Wise or Foolish?

The way of man is to attain whatever one wants by whatever means is available.

It starts as soon as we come forth from the womb. A baby's first cry is attended to with arms of protection and warmth. Wrapped snug in warm blankets and immediately fed mimics the safe environment of growth and development. To a baby, a seemingly cruel ejection into a world of exposure brings the greatest joy to a mother that transcends the pain of delivery.

And so a battle begins. We don't recognize it as such,  but all of a sudden,  the innate roles of parent and child take their perspective places on the field and the goal is to be on the same team and play the game together. The reality is our human nature in each player wants to make our own rules.

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction”.

King Solomon wrote Proverbs. The Lord asked him what he wanted and he answered “wisdom”. And because he didn't ask for riches or fame,  the Lord gave him all of it,  inclusive. Proverbs begins with the difference between a wise man and a fool. Divided into three sections,  verses 1 through 6 gives definition;  to know, discern, receive, give, hear, acquire and understand. Verses 8 through 19 describes the fool. Verses 20 through 33 describes the consequences of a fool.

There is a song from the 60’s with the line “everybody plays the fool,  there's no exception to the rule”. Oh,  how we find it hard to accept and admit that to ourselves,  let alone others. Even Solomon,  who wrote these words ended up losing his kingdom because of foolishness. It doesn't make the words untrue. It just confirms their validity even more.

We want what we want. Human nature is insatiable. Jesus died on a cross and paid for our sin by paying  the penalty for it because we couldn't pay for it. Insatiability cannot be cured by insatiability. There is never enough. Only completeness can satisfy completely!

This year Easter falls on April 1,  which is April Fool's Day. There are many takes on the origin of that day from the switch to the Julian calendar to the vernal equinox to the hilarity of Spring’s beginning. I like to remind myself of Psalm 14:1 “The fool has said in his heart,  there is no God”. That is sad,  for without God what will satisfy your endless cravings? Where is one's hope? My hope is in the sacrificial love of God giving me an expected end in heaven someday. I may have come with insatiable need,  but I am leaving with a glorious fulfilled promise!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Right and Privilege prompt is privilege
It is a privilege to write my thoughts with other Christians.

I am privileged to be a member of a few closed groups on social media. Not personal,  but by public invitation,  I responded,  answered a few questions,  and was in,  just like that. Once there,  I obtained all the benefits of being a participant,  albeit there were rules to abide by.
If I were to see myself there by right,  and I was smart enough,  I could possibly,  with subtlety,  manipulate the dynamics and cause a paradigm shift to the entire purpose. Not to worry,  I have no intention of such a thing. We see that these terms get intertwined and entangled in our understanding.

I would perhaps say it this way….By privilege I submit, knowing I am favored; by right,  I take ownership,  believing I have authority. How does that sound?

God the Father sent Christ the Son to give to every man the right to be called the Children of God,  Jn 1:12. That right there is my human right. It was God's favor,  his privilege to bathe us in His mercy and adopt us into His family giving us all the blessings. Within that family,  yes there are rules,  but unlike earthly groups, if we are truly a part,  we cannot be dismembered. We can be disciplined and corrected. Just like our own children will always be our children,  no matter how estranged or distanced they may become.

So my first question is,  first to myself,  “In what space am I recognizing my rights or liberties,  and in the confines of that descriptive do I recognize my privileges”? My next one is “How tragic is it when I don't exercise the one right that God gives me that secures my eternal destiny?” It is one thing to decline a privilege,  but a right forbidden are what people overtly protest. God has provided an opportunity for every person. He is without blame if it goes ignored.

Friday, February 2, 2018

With Whom Do I Agree

Fmf word this week is agree.

//So often my silence speaks what and who I agree with much more than
my words.

Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Acts 8:1

 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”  But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” Acts 9:13-16

Sooner or later God has His way no matter with whom I may agree. Saul's agreement with putting Stephen to death threw a grenade that blasted the Jews right out of their familiar surroundings. The Gospel was thrust into unchartered territory. Philip began preaching and even Simon the magician believed and was baptized.

I continue to be astonished at what some people, especially Christians, compromise in this world...and I also. I am blindsided by my own opinions too often and fail to consider that God knows exactly what He is doing. His plan has a much further expanse into each life than I ever could see.//

I am reading through Proverbs with other Christian women. I am amazed at how lax I have been in paying attention to the words of this great book as a whole. It is a concert of godly instruction.  When people say we don't come with instructions,  I firmly disagree. We do. It is called the Bible. And Proverbs is given for every situation I could be faced with. But are they just words to agree vocally with? No,  if I give them no thought in my actual daily dealings and thinking, then am I really agreeing with them? Or are like mantle pieces I may take off my mind's shelf from time to time to impress.

Saul agreed to have Christians slaughtered. Later He agreed with God and suffered as he had once made others suffer,  but with a blessed purpose. We can stop agreeing with the enemy,  in whatever form that takes on,  and we can begin to agree with God. Either way there will be suffering in the end. Either way God’s plan will prevail. I would rather suffer with the people of God. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us”. Rom 8:18

Saturday, January 27, 2018

To Whom Will I Surrender?

The word for this week at FiveminuteFriday is surrender

The road before me is barely visible. Heavy rains make it difficult to drive. Street lights and the yellow line that marks the lane are shrouded with dense nebulous fog. I have an address,  but have never been there before. I listen to the voice on the GPS of my tablet trusting I won't miss the turns. These devices help,  but we all know the route they take you is not always the fastest. It is hours before dawn,  it is unfamiliar ground,  and I feel alone.

This scene is fictional that I speak of,  yet it describes to me this word surrender. There are many similarities to life situations where you must decide who or what to surrender to. This word has slid off my tongue in the past so frivolously,  perhaps underestimating the consequences. I tell myself  things will get better,  grace will abound,  God will forgive, and all things will work together for good. That is what my Bible says. It is all true. However, how often do I surrender to the wrong things and become servant to them. It may be years later that I realize the consequences. It may be poor health and physical pain, or it may be addiction, or it may be poverty. It could be estranged relationships. It could be lost opportunities.

It isn't always easy to discern and follow the light of Christ. Things seem vague and situations complex. My heart is to know I am on the right path. To be blind is not sin; to see and not acknowledge you were blind is sin. Christ sees no shame in it. Repentance means turning around and walking in the opposite direction. That involves thinking in a different way to solve your problem than you were thinking when you created your problem. And then there is that fork that you are at, and you don't want to follow the wrong path. Once again, I must choose. When I choose to surrender I am choosing captivity; when I choose not to surrender I am choosing captivity. I never serve two masters. I always serve one. The option to surrender to Christ and not myself nor another person makes serving in love possible. He did what the Father told Him to do, and then He gave His life for me.

It is an ongoing process for each one. "For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity". 1 Cor 13:12,13. Our walk on this earth is so often dim and obstacles can distort the path. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path". Ps 119:105