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Spring Cleaning

Often, I’m not motivated to go through boxes and bins of old things. I simply hate the experience of figuring out what I want to throw out and what I want to keep, then how I will organize.

I have recognized the need to do this for quite some time, but I lacked motivation and dreaded the long, drawn out decision making process and experience. I easily get exhausted for health reasons, so making the decision to just DO was not on my radar until very recently.

I naturally am a sentimental person. I moved often growing up so I had to get rid of things. We simply could not bring all that I owned and my heart desired, to our next place of residence. So I learned to depart with many items. I also was the oldest of six kids so our family always had plenty to move.

I tend to value items that are special from my family. I didn’t always get to keep what I was given and often this hurt. Since then, I have gone to the opposite extreme and kept SO much! There are special items that I have kept for close to thirty years, such as letters that my husband and I wrote back and forth to each other, while we were engaged. He was a student still and I had already graduated, but had an opportunity to go to Brazil for six months. We didn’t have cell phones then, or email, or facebook. We simply wrote letters, putting additional postage on them. We had to wait a week or so to receive each others letters. We did have two opportunities to talk on a regular landline phone! It is much easier today to communicate, but we value the letters we wrote, so I have kept them for all of these years and will not throw them away!

My most frustrating item(s) to go through, is paperwork!

My thinking has been” what if I need this sometime?”

Thankfully, in the age of technology, it is not difficult ,if necessary, to look something up or make a call and get a copy of certain pieces of information. This has allowed me to realize that I don’t have to keep what I once did and how much volume as I have before! I seriously kept everything, including old notebooks with no relevant information for today, in them! There are legal items however to keep for at least 7-10 years, so I have done better at recognizing what is important, what is not. Examples of this are tax records, car titles, homeowner records.

It is particularly hard when cleaning and sorting involves what belongs to other people. I have learned to sort and set aside items and ask later so that I don’t throw away something special to them. I have learned however to notice what is used and valued. Some items have been completely damaged and can’t be fixed, so why am I holding on? I have no idea.

I’m working on going from room to room, which is a slow process, but I believe it will be done soon!

I’m ready to make things look new again. I want to come home to our house and enjoy being here! We are in the middle of remodeling also. It is a constant process of improving and growth!

While working hard is important and very necessary in order to achieving the goals we have, I have to set reasonable goals and plans everyday. I won’t be able to do more if I wear myself out in 1-2 days.

While working through these projects and goals, I thought of how I can relate some spiritual principals to these.

1. Do

Jeremiah 1:17 But you—up on. your feet and get dressed for work!

 Stand up and say your piece. Say exactly what I tell you to say.

Don’t pull your punches

or I’ll pull you out of the lineup. ( Message)

2 Chronicles 15:7

Isaiah 41:10

Galatians 6:9

2. Evaluate

Luke 14:28 “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it”

Proverbs 16:3

Ecclesiastes 3:1

3. Make New

Isaiah 43:19. “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history.

Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new”

2 Corinthians 5:17

Revelation 21:5

4. Set Reasonable Goals

Luke 14:28-31

“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand?”

The similarity I see in the principles of evaluating and setting reasonable goals, involve sitting down and counting the cost which comes from the example displayed in Luke 14:28-31.

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Understanding St.Patrick

Now that all the celebrating is over. I decided to learn about who St.Patrick really was. I never knew much about St Patrick, other than the fact that he was a missionary in Ireland!

Everything else I think of regarding St Patrick’s Day, revolves around what our modern culture does in celebrating this day. I see lots of green and lots of shamrock decorations. I see lots of people celebrate with green beer, counting on this to have a great time with their friends. I see that restaurants make Reuben’s, Corned Beef, Cabbage and Vegetables, one of my favorite meals.

Is this really the way St Patrick wanted to be remembered? In one of the programs I watched, it said that if St Patrick was here today and looking over one of the parades, he would shout out ” Stop!”

Three things stood out to me while learning about St Patrick’s life:

1. He prayed often

2. He was humble

3. He made the gospel relevant, and the language readable to those he reached.

On his Breastplate(Lorica), is written:

“Christ with me,

Christ before me,

Christ behind me,

Christ in me,

Christ beneath me,

Christ above me,

Christ on my right,

Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down,

Christ when I sit down,

Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me”

This reminds me so much of the need to have Christ so much part of my life, that He is literally everywhere! And not only should He be part of my life everywhere, but so everyone can see this too! Everyone who hears me, everyone that is watching me, those who speak of me, speak of Christ being in that conversation and Christ is in the heart of those who think of me!

Maewyn Succat, known also as Patricius( St.Patrick), is called the “apostle to Ireland”, was born in 385 AD in Britannia and died on March 17, 461 AD in Saul, United Kingdom. He was buried on the church grounds where he established his first church in a barn. He ministered for twenty-nine years, baptized 120,000 and began 300 churches!

St Patrick as a teen, was not a follower of Christ. He was, in fact, considered an atheist for a time. In his late teens, he was kidnapped. He became a slave, and believed that God was chastising him for his lack of faith, so he turned to God in prayer!

He was sold as a slave and became a shepherd. He was very lonely and lost all hope of returning home.

It was during this difficult time, that he turned to God. He prayed as often as 100 times a day and as often at night! He sounds like quite a prayer warrior!

It was during this time, that his faith was strengthened and transformation began in his life.

The Irish had many rituals and legends. They were people of war and worshiped many gods.

They did not understand that there was only one God and that He loved them! St.Patrick taught them this! He also brought the hope of Easter Day( Christ’s Resurrection) to Ireland.

Patrick still wanted to return to his home, but he realized God had work for him to do among the people in Ireland. At one point though, some problems arose in his homeland and he was brought back with people from his past, many years before accusing him of something he did years ago. He searched his heart for quite some time and tried to resolve what others said he did. To me, this displays humility in that he tried to restore relationships and his relationship with God.

In his mission work, it is said that he worked with the Irish, teaching them truth about God in ways that they could understand best. He made truth relevant to the people he worked with. I also learned that he helped with making language more readable and easy to write instead of having difficulty with the Latin language.

In the future, St. Patrick’s Day will remind me of something different than seeing shamrocks, all green, drinking and snakes!

Some interesting facts:

Original St. Patrick’s Day color was blue, not green!

First St.Patrick’s Day Parade was in Boston, not Ireland!

Drinking is nowhere in St Patrick’s legacy!

No snakes in Ireland! ( part of an Irish legend)

St.Patrick’s story began in Britain, not Ireland!

The Elite and Entitled

It is easy, when you are young, to believe that what you desire is no less than what you deserve, to assume that if you want something badly enough, it is your God- given right to have it.” – Jon Krakauer

This quote brings to mind what is popular in the news this week, the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice. Names such as Felicity Huffman from Desperate Housewives and Lori Loughlin from Full House, Fuller House and The Hallmark Channel’s movies and shows such as When Calls The Heart, one of my favorite programs are some involved in this. There are around 50 people involved in this fraudulent activity. I’m very disappointed to hear this! I really can, as a parent understand wanting to help our children, giving them every advantage possible to succeed. There is an ethical boundary though that we need to not cross. Doing so, will not teach them the work ethic they need to have on their own and that it is acceptable to cheat the college admissions system.

Other students who have worked hard to be accepted into college see that money alone can buy another student’s way into college. They see others who don’t care, have advantages. It is interesting to me that one of these children helped, claimed that they didn’t care about their education, they only wanted to be at college for sports games and parties. This is a great example of entitlement. “ I’m here to play, but someone else is going to pay!” Unfortunately though, some students may not know what their parents did to make this possible for them.

Some of this fraudulent activity includes paying another person to take an ACT or SAT test for them, to get better results. Some are bribing athletic directors when a student never played a sport and has no intention to play it. Some photoshop pictures of others and some donate money towards a building or project and get a tax benefit from this.

My husband and I chose to go back to college as older adults. We did go to a small 2 yr college right out of high school, but when we saw our need to go back to college, we hoped our children would finish high school , attend and graduate from college at a younger age than we did. We did not want to see them struggle with some issues that we had. We hoped that they would see their need to be disciplined and pursue something good to make their life and the life of their family, better. My husband and I had good reasons for doing what we felt we should do. My husband worked a job often over seventy hours per week and went to college at the same time while being married and had three children. It was difficult for these four years!

Money isn’t the only expectation that some have for their parents and others. It certainly raises the expectation though. Even as adults, when they have left home, there seems to be an expectation, that if they mess up something, mom and dad will just fix it and that they I can do what they want with little to no consequences.

There is also a tendency to believe that when something does go wrong such as a car accident, it’s not their fault or responsibility, it’s always someone else who must take responsibility. An example of this is an adult who owns a car, but doesn’t keep it maintained, has an accident. They didn’t make sure their lights worked such as brake lights so that someone behind them can tell when they are coming to a stop. Someone behind them hits them, but it must be the person behind that is wrong and at fault because “ they weren’t paying attention.” They are responsible as car owners to keep their car working. This is another example of entitlement! Someone else besides myself is responsible.

Also sometimes there is little to no relationship until they are in a tough situation, then all of a sudden mom and dad are supposed to take care of a problem. Many parents want to be available and help! We want to give to our children(and grandchildren), but we want to be of more value than just being a bank or to get them out of trouble.

Several of these stories fit well with the dictionary definition of entitlement. One of these definitions is “ the fact of having a right to something.” Also, “ the amount to which a person has a right” or the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.”

I find it interesting that the opposite of entitlement is gratitude!

What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude”

⁃ Brene Brown

People need to be grateful, no matter who their parents are, what money they have and what they can or can’t or will or won’t do for them.

Abraham Lincoln stated, “You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.”

Honoring people, for example our parents, demonstrates that we are grateful for what we are given, not to what we are entitled. Exodus 20:12 states: “ Honor your father and your mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” ( NLT)

If this country is ever demoralized, it will come from trying to live without work”

⁃ Abraham Lincoln

It is very unfortunate for those who do work hard, that at times, they don’t have advantages such as going to a college they choose to go to because someone else has bribed and made it possible for some who don’t care, to go.

I felt for many years, that I needed to make life “ easier” for our kids, so I did many things for them, instead of letting them learn some of these things on their own, I allowed them more privileges and have more material items than I had when I was young. Now that our kids are older, I’ve reflected a lot and noticed changes that are better for them in the long run. It is very difficult at times because of my personality and background. I want to encourage other parents in particular and people in general, to consider what is best for others.

A better perspective is found in this quote:

Instead of communicating “ I love you, so let me make life easy for you,” I decided that my message needed to be something more along these lines: “ I love you. I believe in you. I know what you’re capable of. So I’m going to make you work.”

Kay Wills Wyma

Welcome, Child

Many of us love little children, especially new babies when they are in our family. It hurts when we can’t see them and spend time with them like we would so love to do!

I think about characteristics of these children and why they are so lovable, I then see that some older children and adults that are simply very difficult to be around and so hurtful sometimes. Often, it’s because they are aggressive, prideful, and arrogant.

Jesus loved little children, the Bible explains in many passages in the New Testament. The disciples were concerned and tried to prevent these little ones from getting too close to Him. Mark 10:13-16 says that the disciples rebuked those bringing children to Jesus. They felt Jesus was interrupted or that they would be interrupted. What was Jesus response though?

14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” Jesus was happy to receive them and love on them!

He said “ whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, will not enter it! A child appears to be more willing to receive, believe and love!

They have not yet become bitter and angry by what they have been dealt in life. They do throw their tantrums if they don’t get what they want, but they don’t stay mad about it for long, they move on. Us adults, when we don’t get what we want often get bitter.

Some of the characteristics I see in babies and small children, are humility, honesty, trusting and innocence. They love to display affection and kindness also. At this time in their life, they are very needy and don’t fight to be the greatest and best. They simply need love, time, affection and care for their basic needs. They want to do well and please their parents, but they don’t feel they constantly need to “ beat” someone else( until they get older).

When I think of good kids that I saw on television when I was young, I remember Opie on the Andy Griffith Show, Wally and Beaver Cleaver on Leave It To Beaver. These shows portrayed kids who were smart, well behaved, funny, and raised in good homes . They were raised in very wholesome family environments. Kirk Cameron and his sister, Candace Cameron Bure are even spiritual leaders today!

The disciples were concerned though, about who Jesus considered to be the greatest! They asked Him, “Who is the greatest?”This describes pride to me! They were in competition with one another for who Jesus considered “the best.”

I find it is very easy, especially as an adult to compete, to find out who is most liked. In most of our high school’s there was a most liked or most likely to… status. It looks to me that they were looking to be on Jesus’ most liked list! There’s nothing wrong trying to do your best and make an effort in life, just not at the expense of being so arrogant and prideful.

I find too, that honesty is another great characteristic of little children. While at times they may lie about something silly like making a mess or taking something they shouldn’t, they often are not at all afraid of telling the truth. Sometimes adults even get upset because they “ tell on them”, but kids are just being honest about what they know. I think of a particular situation where a child told my husband and I something his parent didn’t want exposed. We never asked or probed, but this child had no reason to cover up anything. This child was telling us a story! Being honest with ourselves and others including God, is often something we stop doing after we get past a certain age or point in our life. Often a parent who “ gets caught” gets upset at their child and rebukes them for being honest. They start teaching them to cover up and not tell everything they know.

They are affectionate and kind. A sweet child we know, hadn’t seen me for several months and he was still loving and wished me “ Happy Birthday!” recently.

It brought me to tears truthfully. I felt like he is already learning things that harden his heart, but he still has a sweet, affectionate spirit in him that is so precious.

It is really awesome watching a child learn something new! They seem so excited about it! They start gaining some independence by learning something new such as crawling, walking, riding a bike and eventually driving a car! They learn how to feed themselves, get dressed, and play with a new type of toy, like a Nerf Gun! In this new independence though, they also lose some of the dependence on us and others who help them. When I review these verses, I look at Jesus saying “ Let the Little Children come to me!“, as “don’t forget about me” We all have times of need in our lives and we need to remember who is truly there for us, even when others are not!

When we were real young, we had no choice but to trust. These areas of trust were for our parents to feed us, to change and provide our clothes, keep us warm, protect us and comfort us! As we grew older, we began to trust others less. Either we became confident in ourselves and looked to who we knew we trusted or we realized who we could Not trust.

With our little babies, we see no wrong and can hardly believe they ever will make any mistakes in their life. Unfortunately, we realize though before long that they do! They get into cabinets, eat things they shouldn’t, say words they shouldn’t and many things we don’t want them to do. This sense of innocence is no longer there! It is very disappointing and can be very hurtful! Jesus still said “ Little Children, come” though, didn’t He? If we don’t return to Him though, we don’t experience this forgiveness He provides for us!

Matthew 18:3 says…”Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” He is saying Change and become like little children. Kick that pride, dishonesty, relying on our own independence, lack of trust, unkindness, grown up attitude and wrong behavior out and come to Him! You, the one He created from the beginning, in your mother’s womb, is who He wants!

Luke 9:48: Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”

When we bring “ this little child”( ourselves) to Him( Jesus),we are welcoming Him to be part of our life, and the one who sent Him(God). This “child” is great in His eyes!

Make Life Count

I wrote a post last week called Life- Now and Later. This was about living not only for today, but setting goals that will make a difference in our lives, now, later and for eternity. I’ve been thinking about why it is important to make a difference for others as well.

After watching the news this morning, I saw a consistent theme from those interviewed. One is a new author who had been abused while very young then placed in foster care when she was a teenager. Christina Meredith realized for those in the foster care system, many are homeless by the time they are 18 because they simply are no longer eligible for foster care. She just published a book called ” Cindergirl.” She began an organization that advocates for foster care children. She lived in her car for nearly a year, worked three jobs and inside of three years was crowned Ms California.

The second interview however, was done with Luke Perry, who just passed away yesterday from a massive stroke he had last week at 52 years of age. He said when he was young “I want to do something with my life. When my time here is up, I don’t want to look back and see I didn’t do anything. And “I want to happen to life, I dont want life to happen to me”

Some allow situations in their lives to stop them from moving ahead and making a difference. Others are convinced that they can make changes for themselves and improve the lives of others.

The theme I see is people who believe in making a difference!

I found that the number one person listed that has changed the world, (biographyonline.net) is Jesus Christ! He gave his life, loved and cared for everyone before that time, then and ever since then. I see many different classifications of people who made it onto this list of 100 people who changed the world. I see humanitarians, philanthropists, philosophers, inventors, artists, composers, world leaders and those who fought for freedom listed.

So what matters to people? Is it a young woman making billions creating a make-up line? Some actors and actresses make a difference by only doing their daily job, entertaining people. Some find other causes to contribute and live for. Any of us can do our daily job(s) without thinking about the purpose we have for doing this or finding something that has greater purpose that we can contribute to. I find it is easy to ” just do” without thinking of our “why.”

There are so many things we can do and ways to make a difference. I find even small things can make an impact on others. A song called That’s How You Change The World, states well , “it’s the prayer in an empty room, little things we do when no one’s around, a hand reaching out to a heart in doubt, its the smallest spark, that can light the dark” ( Newsboys)

The mission of the college that my husband and I graduated from is: “educating students to become servants of Christ to make a difference in today’s world.” ( Bryan College). This motivates me when I think about my purpose- to make a difference in today’s world!

I learn by surrounding myself with positive people who motivate me to make this difference. I consider who I am around, what I believe and what they believe about life ( our worldview) in order to impact lives.

I find we can make the most difference with what we value. What is important to us? What do we care about? Who do we care about?

When I look at the life of Christ, I see Him caring about the poor, the lowly and humble, the sick, little children and His disciples. He also demonstrates that He loves sinners! ” While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!” ( Romans 5:8) The fact that He died for us represents how He loved us enough to sacrifice His life for us!

Luke Perry was known for his love, feeding the poor, caring for elderly, simple acts of kindness towards others( in real life). He loved his family and that’s how they remember him!

Martin Luther King is most known for speaking up for Civil Rights as well as Rosa Parks. Princess Diana was often seen doing Philanthropic work all over the world, caring for those with AIDS. Corrie Ten Boom and her family is known for hiding and keeping safe, Jew’s who were sent to concentration camps.

I believe that how I make a difference resembles the legacy that I want to leave. I want to leave a legacy when I am no longer on earth, that I loved and served God, my spouse, my children, extended family, and others. How will I be remembered?

Scripture calls life a “vapor.” One minute our life is here, the next minute, it’s gone. We have no idea when we will no longer be around, what will take us or why we will no longer live on earth.

I heard a phrase when growing up that I’ve remembered for many years.

” Only one life

T’will soon be past;

Only what’s done

for Christ will last.”

Let’s think about how we can make a difference and change the world!

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”

– Winston Churchill

Life, Now and Later

Growing up, I liked some movies whose story setting was New York City! On a few trips, our family would pass New York City, but I never went inside this city.

Last year, I went on a business trip with my husband to northern New Jersey and wanted to go but didn’t have the opportunity yet. We are here again on another trip and I finally had the opportunity to go last night! I was so excited!

I watch the news nearly everyday. I hear about and see pictures of common places such as Rockefeller Center, Rockefeller Plaza, Times Square and Central Park. I hear about events, good and bad happening. The most historical, heart breaking event that I remember was 9-11-2001. This was such a huge event that the news constantly told story after story about those who were lost in this terrible tragedy and those who gave their lives helping rescue as many as possible. There is a memorial now to remember this catastrophic event. Many have also left to fight for our freedom and safety from those trying to cause harm.

Everywhere I went yesterday, there was constant activity! Lots of lights, traffic and movement! Most days at home during the week, I am alone and only go out in the evenings and on weekends as I am not allowed to drive still, so this is a welcome change for me.

Some people don’t have these opportunities, some don’t want this same level of busy-ness, but I feel incredibly fortunate right now! I think of many who are very ill, that can’t leave their homes often for fear of having another seizure. Many hurt physically from different illnesses they have and some hurt emotionally due to issues in their past. I can relate to many people who have these situations going on in their lives, as somedays, I’ve been in the same boat!

What do we do though, when we are able to do something good to help others, something fun, exciting, good for our health? For me, I have procrastinated on some things, like getting up to exercise, or getting work done at home. I try to do what I can for the good of others. It seems easier though to motivate myself when it’s time to do something fun, that I have wanted to do for so long! Last night, for instance, I have no idea how long it has been since I walked that much, but I did it and it was great! I need to keep on!

No matter what our situation is, let’s do our best to keep pushing ourselves! I understand there are days when we absolutely can do nothing, like when we have had a seizure or many of them and must sleep, or we have to face the illness we have and do what we must for ourselves, but when we are able, let’s push ourselves to the next level!

There are many verses in the Bible that are about making and completing goals. I believe that some of the best ones are about pursuing and allowing the Lord to establish these goals as He is the one who will give us the ability then to complete these goals!

Proverbs 16:9 says “ The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

“ Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21

Here are some more great verses about goals!

Isaiah 54:2

Proverbs 24:27

Proverbs 16:3

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Habakkuk 2:2-3

Hebrews 12:1-3

Micah 6:8

What do we want spiritually? What do we want to live for? Is it only for the present, for later in life, for eternity? Love Him first, then love people. Trust Him to guide us and accomplish His purpose in us!

A song I love listening to ( I love many) is called Touch of Heaven by Hillsong

The chorus speaks to me a lot saying,

“All I want is to live within Your love

Be undone by who You are

My desire is to know You deeper

Lord I will open up again

Throw my fears into the wind

I am desperate for a touch of heaven”

Philippians 3:14 says ” I press on for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ.”

I want my most important goal to be to know Him deeper, so I can do what He has for me, now and later!

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Do I Believe?

What do I believe? Why do I believe it? 

When I hear or read that someone doesn’t have faith in God or others, it seems easy to criticize. Or sometimes I might try to figure out why they don’t “just believe”!

Do I have the same thoughts though down deep in my mind?

What brings these thoughts about? Is it because of disappointment, discouragement, pain or fear? Are there reminders of past circumstances that are affecting me once again? Do I believe what God says my value is? 

Ted Dekker describes our thoughts, beliefs and what we worship as truth that saves us:

“The boat is the world’s plan of salvation from the storms of this life. Thus, you have spent your entire life reinforcing the boat, and clinging to it, thinking it will save you. Truly, you worship your boat- your agreements with yourself, your particular philosophy or religious dogma, your intelligence, your possessions, your relationships with family, spouse and friends. Your faith is in them. And so you do not truly believe in Yeshua to save you in this life.” (The Forgotten Way by Ted Dekker)

    When I face a “crisis of belief” as Henry Blackabee, author of Experiencing God, calls it, I wonder, do I trust in God or do I trust in myself?” Do I really believe what is true or is it only mental consent?  

“Grasping for God with the intellect is often the flesh’s tricky way of silencing faith. In truth, you are saved from darkness, both in this life and in the life to come, by grace through faith, not by grace through the intellect.”  ( The Forgotten Way by Ted Dekker)

So, what does God say? What do I say, feel or believe ? This modern song encourages me as well as others I know:

You Say – by Lauren Daigle

Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up

Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough

Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know (ooh oh)

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

You say I am held when I am falling short

When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours

And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

I believe

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me

In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity, (ooh oh)

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

And You say I am held when I am falling short

When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours

And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

Oh, I believe

Taking all I have and now I’m laying it at Your feet

You have every failure God, and You’ll have every victory, (ooh oh)

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

You say I am held when I am falling short

When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours

And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

I believe

Oh I believe (I), yes I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

Oh I believe (oh)

Songwriters: Paul Mabury / Lauren Ashley Daigle / Jason Ingram

When we struggle with understanding life, God says “believe in Me”.

Hebrews 10:23 New Living Translation (NLT)

23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.

May I See Your ID Please?

You Hold Me Now by Hillsong

In western society we have a lot of ways to identify ourselves and others. We have driver’s licenses, passports, social security cards, birth certificates, and employment IDs. Some people even make a big issue to build their identity around their race, gender and other attributes.

What is the purpose in all the ways we attempt to categorize ourselves and others? To build a meaningful identity that describes who we are and what gives us purpose, right? Often these identities are used to prove who we are. Most of the time the officer or TSA agent or bank teller looks at our ID, things line up and we move on.

Sometimes though, our identity is found in or verified by someone else. We give references to a friend for a new job. We go on a date because a friend said he’s a really nice guy. Sometimes, a loved one is called in when there is a death in the family.

Putting our identity in the hands of another person or relation can at times be reliable. Sometimes, not so much. But the one relationship that I can always count on is my relationship with Christ. He’s there for me and knows me better than I know myself. In good times, and even in not so good times; even when I suffer terrible hurt; I can go to Him in complete dependence on who He is to me and who I am to Him.

No matter what the circumstances, the answer and the identity are always the same with Him. I’m His daughter and embraced in His love. He covers me completely as I need complete protection from the storms in life. Even when my brain is in turmoil in the midst of life issues or even a seizure, He holds me close and reassures me that He’s there. As hard as it is and I don’t like going through them, I know that these times are the times I am closest to God, my Father, my peace, my protector, my provider.

God has promised that no matter what life throws at me that I have eternity to look forward to being what God calls me; His child!

Revelation 21:4 (NIV) He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[a] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

You may be wondering how I know these things and even how you might be able to know these things in your life? How can anyone have this identity, this confidence, this hope?

God wants to be right there, a part of our lives. He created us for a relationship with Him even though we have failed and alienated ourselves from Him. But that wasn’t God’s design. He even wants so badly to be there for us that He sent His Son to pay the consequences for our failures so that we could have a relationship with Him.

Romans 5:8 (NIV) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

He only asks that we accept His free gift.

Romans 6:23 (NIV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When we do, He becomes our identity and our security.

So…
I know my God saved the day!
I know His Word never fails!
I don’t care what the world throws at me now! It’s gonna be alright because I know my God saved the day… (excerpt from Salvation is Here, Hillsong)

If you would like to know more about this identity in Christ, write me a comment.

Expect or Hope

” What do you expect?”

This question often comes up in our relationships day to day! 

We get irritated when our kids, our spouse, our co-workers, our friends or just anyone we run across, disappoint and fail to meet our expectations. Are these expectations too high or too low, are they completely unrealistic? 

We even fail to meet our own expectations, don’t we?

The Oxford Dictionary defines the word expect in this way: “to regard something as likely to happen”. An expectation is a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. It’s a belief that someone will or should achieve something. The Cambridge English Dictionary says it is the feeling that good things are going to happen in the future!

 Here are a few quotes I find interesting regarding expectations:

   “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed” -Alexander Pope

“There were two ways to be happy: Improve your reality or lower your expectations” -Jodi Picoult

“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.” -Stephen R. Covey

“I have not failed, I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”– Thomas Edison

So what do we expect of people, ourselves or God? What do we expect regarding our circumstances, health, job and family? 

  Are we going to be happy all the time?

There are 3 Greek words in the New Testament for ” expect” or ” expectation”

These are three aspects or perspectives or contexts of expectations and are defined as :

  • to look forward to what will probably occur
  • To wait for that of the realization of which one is assured
  • Earnest expectation “ according to my earnest expectation and hope” ( NASB)

I like Philippians 1:20, where Paul uses both words, Expect and Hope,  even as he is in prison. “For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.” (NLT)

Now Hope, as a noun means a feeling of expectation and a desire for a certain thing to happen, also it is a feeling of trust. As a verb, to hope is to want something to happen or be the case. 

“Hope is commonly used to mean a wish: it’s strength is the strength of the person’s desire. But in the Bible, hope is the “ Confident Expectation” of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness.”  (got questions.org)

In English, the word Hope also conveys doubt, like “ I hope we can go to the store today,” 

Biblical hope is a reality, not a feeling. 

How can we be confident? Who is the only one we can truly have confidence in?

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word meaning hope, is Batah and its cognates demonstrates confidence, security, being without care therefore the concept of doubt is not part of hope. In the New Testament, doubt is not attached to the word for the Greek word(s) for hope either- Elpis/Elpizo.

1 Peter 1:3-4 says “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you!”

Pastor Rick Warren says of hope: “ What gives me the most hope everyday is God’s grace. Knowing that His grace is going to give me the strength for whatever I face, knowing that nothing is a surprise to God.”

My husband Daniel, often quotes his mother’s saying “It didn’t take God by surprise”. Sometimes I laugh with this quote, other times, I get aggravated because I just really want and expect things to go my way! As a believer though, I have to remember that my earnest expectation, my confidence, my hope, must be in Him!

Philippians 1:6 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

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My Mind on Super Bowl Sunday!

Superbowl LIII (that’s 53 in case roman numerals are not your thing) is here and sports betting is now allowed in many states. I’ve heard of 8 so far!

How often do we bet, in our minds, that nothing will happen to us while driving home on Super Bowl Sunday? After all, it’s a fun time to get together with family and/ or friends and eat, drink and just have some fun guessing who is going to win and getting all excited as we watch our favorite teams and players go crazy! We might even bet that we will make it home safely, ready to start a new week the next morning!

What we wouldn’t often wager is that we’ll encounter a drunk driver out on the road! We assume that they don’t go out or that they were already caught! Some may even think that its not their problem or that it will never affect them.

Then there is an accident!

Is it just car damage to us and the other car involved, or broken bones or bruises? While these things are terrible, some victims of drunk driving have been hit in the head, causing a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) which can often cause consequences like seizures for the rest of their lives! This is particularly close to me as I suffer from epilepsy and for many it can be a lifelong struggle in many ways. My seizures were not caused by an encounter with a drunk driver, but I know several people who’s are.

What often gets the news is the mortality of those encounters (the body count); but they often end in life-changing consequences that leave a lifetime of struggles.

James 4:13-14 says: “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow [a]we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

No matter how we place our bets in life or what expectations we set on our lives, we really don’t know what will happen to us beyond this moment. We will all have some trouble in life! Take heart that God is in control and that he has a purpose for your life even with it’s unique struggles. I would never have guessed that He would use my experiences to support others through writing a blog; but He knows what tomorrow holds even if I don’t.

My Example, My Reason

Here in the Presence by Elevation Worship

King David in the Old Testament is probably my favorite Bible character.
He used music to comfort Saul, the King before him. He wrote psalms, sang to God in good times and in bad. I love music! It is a huge encouragement when I am down. It picks me up. I enjoy it and it makes me happy. It is very therapeutic when I’m dealing with anxiety and depression that is part of a few chronic conditions I have. I have spoken with counselors who have told me to find and use coping skills. I find they help in difficult times when I struggle because it’s easy to dwell on my troubles. But if I do, I often get worse.

David went through some very dark times in his life such as when his son passed away at such a young age and when another son betrayed him. He used music to find encouragement and to encourage others. In that same way, we can use our talents and sometimes our coping skills to be a blessing to others in difficult times they are going through.

I recently finished Lysa TerKeurst’s book “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered”. I highly recommend this book! In her book, she shares that we all go through these times but can turn around and let God use these difficulties and hurt to encourage and comfort others as well.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NIV) says: “3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”

If you find yourself in the midst of struggles today, ask God how He can use your struggles to encourage others around you who may be experiencing similar challenges.

Also check out these additional verses of encouragement:

If you’re interested in knowing more about David, find out more about key events in his life at these links:

bibleresources.americanbible.org
http://bibleresources.americanbible.org/resource/key-events-in-davids-life

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