Are You Quick To Obey?

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This morning I got woke up by a work call before the alarm went off. I answered it, then rolled over hoping to go back to sleep. I am not a morning person and don’t like getting up before I have to. Then I received a work text, still before the alarm went off. I had to make a call to answer this one, so I just went ahead and got up.

I did my reading, actually had a really good morning read. I was still ahead of schdule so decided to get ready for work and go in a little early. Bella was coming to work today anyway, and that would give me time to get payroll done before her Mommy dropped her off.

As I was driving to work, I noticed this woman walking the streets of the small town I live in. I had noticed this woman three or four times this week. I have a feeling this woman has been walking our streets for awhile, and I have just never noticed her. She has just been a fixture of our downtown that I ignored. Shame on me.

As I drove by, I had that sense that I needed to stop and give her some money. (This is not a look at me blog post, quite the contrary. And I am not someone who stops and hands out money very often. Sad to say I tend to be more judgemental than giving in those situations). At first I just drove on by. As I approached the next street I had that nudge that said you can turn around. I kept going. I was already beating myself up for not listening and responding right away. That small voice said, “It is never too late to be obedient.” I turned at the next street and headed back the way she was.

By the time I got back there I didn’t see her. I was stopped at a light and noticed her in a bank parking lot to the left of me, but there was a car behind me so I couldnt back up. I waited for the light to turn, afraid I would miss her. she had already started down the street again by the time the light changed. I was finally able to turn into a street right before her, she was on a corner.

I parked and jumped out, walked over to her and said, “I don’t know your story, but I have seen you walking all week, and think it might not be going so well.” I gave her some money and told her to buy herself breakfast. She said she already had breakfast. I told her to keep it for something else that she might need.

She started telling me this story about how she had run into some trouble, and had an insurance claim coming in, and the money should be wired to that bank today. I hope that is the case, but I think that as women, no matter what our status or situation, we try and make things appear better than they really are.

I listened to her a few minutes then said I had to get going. I got back in my car and headed to work. I realized after I left that I should have prayed with her, but I forgot. I did pray for her on the rest of my short drive to work. I prayed that God would protect her, and provide for her needs.

I don’t know if God got me up early today to meet a need for that woman or not. I do know God used that woman this morning to teach me a lesson about obedience, that it is never TOO late to be obedient.

2 John 1:6 ” Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.”

God may I get better about noticing those around me, those who blend in and become part of the fixtures. May I get better about being obedient quicker.

Missed Calls.

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Weekends mess up my quiet time, time spent in the mornings with God. Isn’t that ironic, that Sunday should mess up my quiet time? But they do, during the week I am more in a routine and get up and spend time reading, praying, or just listening. Saturday and Sundays I get up and don’t immediately go to it. I feel like I have the whole day and it gets away from me.

The thing is when I miss on Saturday and Sundays I have a harder time getting up on Monday mornings, and if I am not careful three or four days go by and I am starting my week out bad. And the thing is, I know what a difference it makes in my life if I take that time each morning to spend with God.

My life runs so much easier when I start my days out with Him. My life runs easier. Does my life run easier because I am spending time with Him or because I feel better about myself? When I am reading and praying am I mentally crossing them off an imaginary list in my head that I don’t even realize exist? So, I feel better about myself and don’t feel guilty?

I don’t really think that is it – when I am reading and praying, then God is at the center of my life and not me. My decisions and actions and responses come from a life less me centered and more outward centered. So, I know he changes me when I spend time with him. I am growing there, but there is an area lacking.

I haven’t reached that point yet that when I miss a few days of reading or praying, that I don’t feel guilty. I want to grow to where when I miss a few days I don’t feel guilty for missing my reading, but that I feel sad because I have missed time with God.

If I look at my phone and see a missed call from Brett, or my kids, or a good friend I feel let down because I missed the call. I don’t feel guilty because I didn’t get to answer it, I feel sad I missed talking with them. I missed what they had to say, what they wanted to tell me.

There is a difference. Being sad I missed it comes from the heart. Feeling guilty I missed it comes from my actions. Feeling sad about missing it is conviction, feeling guilty is condemnation. Conviction comes from God, condemnation comes from Satan.

I have reached a point in my relationship with God that I know spending time with him changes my heart. I still haven’t reached that point yet where missing time with him breaks my heart.

God fill my heart with a deep desire to spend time with you, break the cycle of guilt when I don’t. Let me be lead by conviction and not condemnation.

Are You Tied To Anything?

hanging lifesaver
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James 4:7 & 8 “humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come close to God , and God will come close to you.

In chapter four, James is talking about we can not be friends with the world, and friends with God. We have to choose one or the other. It doesn’t mean shutting ourselves out of the world. If we did that how would they ever know we are different? We can be in the world but not of the world.

I feel like we throw this verse around to people. We throw it out as a life line not attached to anything. If we just say resist the devil and he will flee from you, we aren’t really helping, if we don’t give them tools to go along with it.

What are the tools we need to resist the devil? The things to tie our life line to?

  1. Read your Bible – If I want to know something, I pull up my phone an google it, research it. If I want to know how to resist the devil, I need to know what the Bible teaches. I can use my phone for that, I can google verses about certain subjects. I can also have a Bible downloaded on my phone. There are so many free Bible apps out there, with Bible reading plans. Pick one you like and download it.
  2. Pray – If I want a good marriage, I spend time talking with people who have one. If I want to learn about running, I talk to people who run. If I want to know how to resist the devil, I need to go to the expert. Who is better at resisting the devil then Jesus? Pray, and ask Him how.
  3. Be accountable – If I am trying to diet or exercise, I need accountability. If everyone at work is dieting it is easier to diet. If I want to walk in the mornings, it is much easier to do if Brett and I both do it. Want to resist the devil? Be accoutable to other believers who have the same goal.
  4. Study a Master – If I want to learn a new skill like painting, or pottery, or karate, I want to study from someone who knows what they are doing, someone who can teach me. Study Jesus, study his life, study his example. A great place to start is Mark 4, or Luke 4, both are accounts of Jesus being tempted by the devil, and how he resisted.

Do you want to be able to resist temptations when they arise? Draw close to God and He will draw close to you. Tie your life line to the one who knows how to make the devil flee.

Things Are Not Always As They Appear.

Things are not always what they seem. It looks like Brett is falling off the back of the boat. The picture is deceiving, Brett is really just getting in the boat. ( thank goodness because no one is paying attention to Brett, all eyes are on Bella’s first boat ride). When we only see one frame of a picture, or only hear part of a story we can be deceived.

Our lives can be that way also. We can deceive people into thinking we have it all together, when we are really falling apart. We can deceive people into thinking our lives are perfect, when in reality they are in shambles. We can deceive people into thinking our finances are in order, when we are really drowning in debt. We can deceive people into thinking we are sober, when we have relapsed. We can deceive people into thinking we are fine, when we are not.

Sometimes we deceive thinking we are protecting others. Sometimes we deceive to protect our pride. Sometimes we deceive because deceiving is easier than opening up. Sometimes we deceive because we just don’t want to bother someone else with our problems, or we feel no one really wants to be bothered. Sometimes we deceive because being honest takes too much. Sometimes we deceive because we have been deceiving so long we don’t know any other way.

Colossians 3:9 ” Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices”

This verse is very clear, that as believers, we are not to lie to each other, we are not to deceive each other. We need to be careful about deceiving each other, even if we feel we are doing the right thing. Who knows what you being honest about a situation, might do in encouraging someone else. You never know who might encourage you in a situation, if they knew what was truly going on in your life.

Just like the picture, things are not always the way they appear. We need to be careful about the life we present, so we don’t fall off the back of the boat while no one is looking.

Happy Memorial Day

Thank you to those who are serving and have served in the past. Thank you to you and your families for your sacrifice. Because of your service this sweet girl is free to stand and watch a parade go by, free to fly a flag, and free to dance to the beat of a marching band. THANK YOU!

IF WE COULD SEE THE FUTURE!

When my kids were growing up we lived in St Louis about two hours from where we live now. We spent Memorial Day weekends here in Herrin with my family.

We would spend the days out on the lake. My parents didn’t have a house on the lake at that time, there were fewer of us, and we spent the whole day out in the boat. When I think about it now probably not the best parenting lol, but I think my kids loved it.

They rode around in the boat all day, they wore their life jackets all day, they ate lunch in the boat. When we stopped we would let them out to play in the water to cool off. When they feel asleep we would lay them under the dash in the only shade there was. It was the summer life they grew up with. Not a bad childhood.

We would start each Memorial Day weekend on Saturday morning at the Herrin Fest Parade.  Covering our ears from the fire trucks, watching the floats and bands, and getting the biggest bag of candy I have ever seen at any parade.

When my nieces and nephews came along we continued the tradition, but everyone grew up and we have not done the parade in years. This year we revised the tradition.

We took our grandkids Bella and Milo to the parade. Milo wasn’t too impressed he slept, ate a bottle and was a trooper in the heat. However, I am pretty sure he holds the record for the youngest family member to attend.milo parade

Bella loved it, she got into collecting the candy, she loved waving at everyone, and loved the band. She was getting her grove on, and I think would have marched away with them if she could have.parade 2

Who knew how things would change over the years. That we would all be living here in Herrin now, doing life together. That Brittany would be riding in the parade as Herrin Chamber President.Brittany parade

Four or five years ago I was wondering if God would ever bless our family with babies. It was a struggle I was having with Him. A struggle of doubt, bitterness, jealousy, anger and lack of faith.

I couldn’t see what God had in store back in those days when we were taking Brittany and Chris to the parade, but God did. In fact, even back then, God was already there in yesterdays future as we enjoyed that parade with Bella and Milo.

I avoid using the verse in Jeremiah because I feel it’s over used but it fits today’s post.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Thank you God that yesterday Bella and Milo attended their first, of what I hope is many Herrin Fest parades, with four generations of family, with parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and aunts and uncles.parade

Thank you that when we can’t see the future you are already there.

This picture is not at Herrin Fest but it is about the age my kids started attending. Poppy start saving your money because it won’t be long before the parade won’t be enough for Bella and Milo.





The Tongue

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Controlling your tongue, is it possible?

The person who can learn to control their tongue, can rule any situation. Never has my loose tongue gotten me anywhere, whether in gossip, in anger, in arguing, or in ugly speech. Never when my tongue has been out of control have I won. There are times that my tongue seems to have a mind of its own. Disconnected from my brain.

There are times when I know I shouldn’t say something, but I open my mouth and say it anyway. Times when I have known in my head not to open my mouth, but I do anyway.

James 3:2 says, “if we could control our tongues we would be perfect, and could also control ourselves in every other way.” On those occasions when I have been able to control my tongue I am in control, control of myself and the situation around me.

James also says in verse 6, “the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body.” Such a great descriptive phrase, a flame of fire. Uncontrolled a fire doesn’t stay small, it spreads. The tongue is the same way. I might set out to only share a little piece of information, just this one little thing, but once I open my mouth I have gossiped about everything I know, and probably added my own opinions to the situation.

If I am angry, once I say that first sentence then I spew out everything inside. It is like my mouth can’t stop and I have to vomit all the anger out.

James also says, the tongue is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. I hate to even think about how true that statement is. When we open our mouths and speak, our tongues can kill dreams, motivation, hopes, desires, and relationships. The tongue has the power to destroy so much, in a matter of seconds.

Lastly, James says, blessings and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. The words spoken by my tongue can do so much. Rarely have I been mad or sorry for words I put on paper, because I think through, and I control what I write down. I can cross them out, delete, them, or rip them up, but the words that come out of my mouth I can’t take back. So often I have regretted them, especially with the person I love the most. Brett has too often been the target of that deadly poison.

When I learn to control the words that come from my mouth, like I do the words on paper, my life and the lives of those around me are so much better.

God, today let the words from my mouth be blessings and not curses. Let my words be uplifting, not tear down. Let my words be encouraging, not discouraging. Let my words be full of love, not hate. Let my words today be yours not mine