Friday, August 31, 2012

Wasted Treasure

"I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread." Job 23:12 (NIV)

We held it right in our hands.

Liquid gold.

And then we poured it down the sink.

I don't know if it was post-delivery haze, a state of absolute giddiness, or lack of sound sleep...on the part of both mommy and grandmommy, but we did it. We emptied "tubies" of pumped milk down the drain.

It was all so innocent. We thought that all that pumping was to increase my daughter's milk supply. Going back to work was months away. The lactation specialist advised staying away from bottles until our bright-eyed baby girl was used to nursing. So what were we going to do with all that milk?

Uh, yes, now we know that we should have been freezing it.

And my precious daughter, turned mommy, is spending every free minute (including her lunch time) hooked up to that machine. Just to produce enough milk for the next day.

Yes, we often find ourselves whacking our foreheads and asking ourselves, "What were we thinking???"

But my girl is a trooper and does what it takes to feed her little one! 

During one of my stints of head whacking and anguishing over the wasted treasure, I glanced over at my pink Women's Devotional Bible.

I had to ask myself, "How often have I wasted that 'nourishment'? How many times have I let precious time in His Word run right down the drain, as I chose to sleep in...or check Facebook...or just move right on with the duties of the day?"

Then I wondered, "What am I doing to feed others who are 'hungry'? Am I sharing the treasure of God's Word and the fulfillment of His love with them?"

Am I filled with His Word and nourished richly, to the point that His love is the overflow of my life? That's what I pray for.

Lord, please forgive me for the treasure I've wasted, the time and the opportunities that I've poured right down the drain. Keep me from making those mistakes again. Draw me to Yourself and to Your Word. Help me to hunger and thirst for You. And when my soul is filled, may it overflow with sweet nourishment for those in my path.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday Worship~10,000 Reasons

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the LORD is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through
all generations."
Psalm 100:4-5
No matter what your circumstances, may this day find you praising His holy Name.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Meditation~God is For You!

"If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31b (NIV)

I've done it again.

I took a chunk of a well-known verse, one that's hidden in my heart, and "majored on the minor."

Instead of focusing on the awesome reality that God is for me, I slipped into wanderings of who might be against me.

Can you believe that??

People, God is for us.

The Creator of the universe knows us personally and is FOR us!

He is FOR you!!! He wants wonderful things for you! He is cheering you on!! Jesus, Himself, is interceding on your behalf!

I don't know about you, but that makes me want to jump and shout (and in the mind of the younger woman inside me, be a flier...and raise my arms in victory!)

Won't you join me today in celebrating the depth of His love for us, the Truth of His Word, and bask in knowing that our salvation is wrapped in those words as well as the reality of all blessings?

Yes, God is for us! 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thankful Hearts and Actions

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

To be honest, I've often approached that verse with a bit of skepticism.

I guess it's the "always," "continually," and "in all circumstances" that throws me.

So it's had a bit of a negative slant for me.

Or maybe it's just the ideals that seemed impossible for me to maintain.

But today I'm looking at it from a new perspective.

Focusing on the "give thanks" part. Thinking I don't do that enough. With people. And with God.

Like with Thank You notes. Let's face it. It seems they've become a thing of the past. And I fail at that very thing quite often. In these days of hectic schedules and technology, notes that travel by the postal service are almost extinct. That's a little sad. Who doesn't like receiving something in their mailbox that isn't a bill or junkmail??? I know I do!

And who doesn't like for their kindness or act of service to be appreciated? Again, I do!

Yes, people like to be thanked.

And we should thank them...with words, a note, sometimes even a gift.

And God. Oh my. We should live lives of gratitude toward Him. Whispering thanks throughout the day. Always. Continually. And yes, in all circumstances. Thankful that we can trust Him. Giving thanks for the magnitude of His love for us. How He protects and provides. How He never leaves us or forsakes us.

I'm praying for a heart that is thankful. And actions that show it.

How about you? What are you thankful for today?     

Thank YOU for stopping by! (Enjoy a little chocolate with that!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday Worship~His Eye Is On the Sparrow

Oh how I love this hymn. What a precious reminder of God's great love for us...and His desire for us to trust in Him. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.

Praying you'll wrap yourself in those words today.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Meditation~Worry Is Wrong

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Matthew 6:25-27 (NIV)

The Bible says, "Do not worry."                                            

That means it's a sin.

And I'm guilty.

Funny, I'm often the one reminding two people I love not to worry. (I hear your uh-huhs, girls.)

But I think I've fallen into the trap.

My dreams are a clear indication....Although I'm not sure what the one where I went into a perfect stranger's house and ate 1 1/2 pieces of some truly amazing pecan pie meant. Yep, I stopped right in the middle of the second piece and put it on the counter (hoping someone would finish it?) and snuck out of the house...worrying.

I even had a teacher nightmare! You know, the ones where you totally lose control of the class just as the principal comes in, or you don't have a thing planned and the students and the parents are there, or you're at school inappropriately dressed. The thing is, I'm retired!! Of course, it's my first year in retirement and I guess it takes a little while for it to get out of my blood.

This morning as I glanced out the window to the bird feeder, God whispered in my ear portions of Matthew 6:25-27. He's so personal.

Then as I had my quiet time, I read from Beth Moore's devotional book, Praying God's Word Day by Day. I was reminded to "walk by faith and not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7) She said, "Believing God closes the gap between our theology and our reality...."

Yes, the gavel came down.

As I continued in my quiet time, the words to Kari Jobe's song, Steady My Heart, echoed in my mind.

God is so real. His love is so great. And He's got us...right inside the palm of His hand.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Watching While You Wait

"I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His Word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning." Psalm 130:5-6 (NIV)

I read the verse.                                                           

And then read it again.

Surely there must have been some mistake.

I saw it first on Bible Gateway.

I headed straight for my "hard copy" Women's Devotional Bible.

It was right there in black and white.

The phrase was repeated. So odd to me.

It reads, "My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning."

I ventured back to Bible Gateway to examine the verse in different translations in hopes of gaining insight into the repetition of that phrase. Most versions referred to watchmen, guards, or sentries watching and waiting for morning or dawn. One text simply said, "those who watch for morning."

Now, I've never been a watchman, guard, or sentry, but I have endured long nights of waiting for the morning. Longing for the light of day. Can you relate? Even metaphorically?

Are you waiting for the Lord?

I think we all long for His return. But are you watching for Him to act in some manner even while He lingers?

Surely we all have something we're waiting for. A prayer to be answered. Healing. Salvation for a loved one. A new job. A spouse. A child. A change of scenery.

Maybe our patience is being tested to the extent we need to emphasize the depth that bears repeating...more than those that wait for morning, more than those that wait for morning.

First of all, I encourage you to embrace the words of a couple of hymns, "'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" and "Have Faith in God." I love that they are side by side in my Baptist Hymnal.
While we wait, just to sing, "Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I've proved Him o'er and o'er! Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust Him more!"

(And might I just add, for those who think I use too many exclamation marks, that the author Louisa M. R. Stead embraced them as well.)

And then to sing, "Have faith in God, He's on His throne; Have faith in God, He watches o'er his own; He cannot fail, He must prevail; Have faith in God, have faith in God."

(Author B.B. McKinney felt compelled toward repetition as well!)

And secondly, I challenge you to look for the blessings in the waiting. They are there. We just have to be on watch.

I read a beautiful quote this morning by Jennifer Dukes Lee that says "Often, the smallest, biggest wonders are right where you are, on the way to where you're headed, begging to be found under your feet."

Let's watch for the wonders while we wait...trusting Jesus, having faith in God.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday Worship~Good Morning!

"Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you." Psalm 63:3 (NIV)

What a wonderful way to start the day! Let's keep praising Him all day long!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Meditation~Better Than Life

Psalm 64:1-5

O God, You are my God
earnestly I seek You;
my soul thirsts for You,
my body longs for You,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

I have seen You in the sanctuary
and beheld Your power and Your glory.
Because Your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise You as long as I live,
and in Your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the
richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise You.

Because His love is better than life, may our lips glorify Him, praising Him all the day long!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Focused, Uncluttered, Forgiven

"He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy." Proverbs 28:13 (NIV)

It was right in front of me.                                               

A snake.

Okay, so it was only about 2 inches long. I had to look closely to confirm that it was a snake, not a worm.

Now, the verification of my dislike for snakes is demonstrated in the fact that I could not post a photo of the real thing. In fact, my search for an image to include still has my muscles tied in knots and my face all squinched up.

My point being that even baby snakes make me cringe...and shudder...and ponder staying inside...forever.

I want it to be that way with my sin.

(Well, not the part about staying inside forever.)

I want it to make me cringe and shudder and run!

This week my posts have been based on Hebrews 12:1-2, keeping our focus on Jesus, throwing off everything that hinders, all the clutter...including the sin that so easily entangles.

And that means even the "baby snake" sins...the ones that can escape unnoticed. You know, the gossip that sneaks its way into conversation, the critical spirit that slithers in and kills the joy, the little white lie that slinks right out of your mouth, the ungrateful attitude that wraps itself around your thoughts and squeezes the life out of words of thanksgiving, the bitterness and unforgiveness that stays coiled in the den of our hearts.

Oh may God slay every unwholesome thought before it enters the garden of my mind. I pray that He takes His heavenly hoe and chops off its head before it emerges into my actions.

And when I fail,  may I be quick to confess and renounce...and find mercy.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday Worship~Uncluttered

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

Is your race in pursuit of Jesus hindered? Are the noises of today, or voices of the past drowning out what He would have you hear? Gwen Smith shares a beautiful song encouraging us to clear away the clutter that builds a wall between us and the love of our sweet Savior.

Let's live daily surrendered, following in His steps. May we give ourselves completely, with nothing in between. Oh that our love for Him would always be uncluttered.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Meditation~Focused

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the [author] and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

Sometimes it feels like rather than being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, we are engulfed by the winds of noise and confusion, chaos and distraction. In the clamor of our generation, with media hijacking our thoughts, schedules drowning our time, and stresses weighing us down, our peace is often compromised. And our walk is hindered. The finish line obscured.

Then there's that sin that so easily entangles and trips us up.

We must be intentional in maintaining our focus.

It is essential that we fix our eyes on Jesus, not on man, not on this world.

He understands completely the struggles we face, the ties that keep us bound, the temptations luring our hearts to stray.

And He endured the cross, because of love that knows no bounds. To release the waters of forgiveness. To set the captives free. To give us a hope.

Jesus is the author and creator...and the perfecter and finisher of our faith.

We just have to keep our focus. Fix our eyes on Him.

Lord, help us. In a world that beckons us to keep our eyes on our circumstances, on the world around us, empower us to turn our focus toward You. Increase our faith. Empower us to run the race You marked out for us with perseverance, remembering the joy that awaits us because of Your love and sacrifice. We love You.

Friday, August 3, 2012

There's Waiting and There's Waiting

"Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." James 1:22 (NIV)

I've been blaming it on the treadmill.                                    

Which is up in our storage room.

Probably because it wasn't being used. Okay, so I probably didn't need the word "probably."

Yep, I've fallen off the exercise bandwagon. Too hot outside and the treadmill is in storage. Yoga DVD purchased, but don't have a yoga mat. You do need one, don't you?

I know that I should care for my body. God's Word tells me so.

According to James 1:22, I'm deceiving myself...and being disobedient...if I don't "Do what it says."

And that doesn't just relate to exercise.

God's Word is chock full of instruction on what we should do, how we should live. Are we just listening? Or are we doing?

What is God asking you to do? Love? Forgive? Share the Gospel? Serve? Teach? Show hospitality? Use the gifts He gave you? Spend time with Him? Study His Word?

This week my posts have been about waiting.

There are two types of waiting. There's waiting for something to happen...something we long for, but have little control over. And then there's waiting to make something happen. When the ball is in our court. When it's totally up to us.

If God has given you "a word," don't deceive yourself. Do what He says.

If He's given you a dream, do the work to make it come true.

If He's placed a call on your life, follow in obedience.

What is He saying to you? And what are you waiting for?

Lord, help us to take the time to hear Your really listen...and then to act in obedience. We love You and desire to please You. Help us, Lord.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wednesday Worship~While I'm Waiting

While we wait, may we do it in obedience, in confidence, and in faith, serving Him and continuing to worship all along the way.