Convenient

Have you ever said to your spouse, “Everything can’t be on the top shelf in the front” or “If it had been a snake it would have bit you”? I have many times.

We live in a society of convenience! The “give it to me now and quick!” mentality. And the simpler the better!

You know I’m right! So don’t sit there with a confused look on your face!

But God didn’t mean for everything in this life to be convenient. Jesus made many a trip of inconvenience so that we would have life. The most sacrificial trip was to the cross. So we’re going to grumble when we have to search the refrigerator for that favorite jelly or we are asked to run a friend to the grocery or sit by the bedside of a sick friend. I think NOT!

Galatians 6:2d

 rBear one another’s burdens, and sso fulfill tthe law of Christ.

Romans 15:1–7

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.  For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”  For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,  that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Luke 14:28

 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

Hebrews 13:1–3

Let us in brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby wsome have entertained angels unawares.  xRemember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.

According to Townsend and Cloud – the authors of “Boundaries” When to say Yes and when to say No”  they say…………..

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. – Galatians 6:2-5

We are responsible to others and for ourselves. “Carry each other’s burdens,” says Galatians 6:2, “and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” This verse shows our responsibility to one another.

Many times, others have “burdens” that are too big to bear. They do not have enough strength, resources, or knowledge to carry the load, and they need help.

Denying ourselves to do for others what they cannot do for themselves is showing the sacrificial love of Christ. This is what Christ did for us. He did what we could not do for ourselves; he saved us. This is being responsible “to.”

On the other hand, verse 5 says that “each one should carry his own load.” Everyone has responsibilities that only he or she can carry. These things are our own particular “load” that we need to take daily responsibility for and work out. No one can do certain things for us. We have to take ownership of certain aspects of life that are our own “load.” The Greek words for burden and load give us insight into the meaning of these texts. The Greek word for burden means “excess burdens,” or burdens that are so heavy that they weigh us down. These burdens are like boulders. They can crush us. We shouldn’t be expected to carry a boulder by ourselves! It would break our backs. We need help with the boulders—those times of crisis and tragedy in our lives.

In contrast, the Greek word for load means “cargo,” or “the burden of daily toil.” This word describes the everyday things we all need to do. These loads are like knapsacks. Knapsacks are possible to carry. We are expected to carry our own. We are expected to deal with our own feelings, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as the responsibilities God has given to each one of us, even though it takes effort.

Problems arise when people act as if their “boulders” are daily loads, and refuse help, or as if their “daily loads” are boulders they shouldn’t have to carry. The results of these two instances are either perpetual pain or irresponsibility.

Lest we stay in pain or become irresponsible, it is very important to determine what “me” is, where my boundary of responsibility is and where someone else’s begins. We will define what we are responsible for later in our book. For now let’s look more closely at the nature of boundaries.

Townsend and Cloud may have something going here!

So everything is not going to be convenient for us but the trick is learning how to determine when we’re making everything convenient for the other.

We can’t give to our fullest with a glad heart if we’re giving far beyond what we’re able to give.

So pray today for God to give us a willing spirit. Also pray for Him to give us a discerning mind and loving heart.

Lord, You gave way out of convenience. I pray that I will be willing to give beyond and You will give me the strength to go as You lead me. Amen!

Truth has Consequences

I heard it said the other night that “with truth there are consequences.” Yes, this is a true statement. We generally consider the word consequences to insinuate bad or painful. And yes even the consequences of truth can be painful. But I want to add to that statement…………

With truth there are consequences, just as there are with lies. But the consequences of truth are leading you closer to Jesus.

Psalm 15:1-2 O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;

Zechariah 8:16These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace;

Ephesians 4:25Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

1 John 1:8If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

There have been times that I have chosen a lie and although the recipient of that lie may never have known that I told it, my soul did. It ate away at me like a parasite, gnawing away bit by bit. It wasn’t until I revealed that lie with the truth that I was free.

As it says in scripture if I wish to dwell in the tent on the holy hill I must walk blameless, do what is right and speak the truth. I must do what I can to make peace and speak the truth to others. I must put away falsehood and acknowledge my sin so that I do not deceive myself and attempt to hide from the truth.

If I speak only of lies, I am binding myself to my past and preventing my future from being holy and indwelling with the Lord. So even though the consequences of speaking the truth may be painful initially, they are far less painful then the consequences of a lie.

Better

#fmf

1 Samuel 15:22 

 But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices  as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice,  and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Back in the days before Jesus it was customary to do burnt offerings and sacrifices. This was a ritual of killing the “best” of what you had to show your love for God. And you didn’t do it just half way! You had to give your best. And then Jesus came and everything changed. Now we have a real person in the flesh to be in relationship with and to help us see the need to change our ways. So no more burnt offerings and sacrifices.

Today we vary in our ways and we justify our sacrifices (services) as being enough rather than getting real with Jesus. We make ourselves believe that is our best (our works) because if we got down and dirty with our Lord about who we are, being honest, it might look our “best”initially but in reality, it will be grimy and stained. It will be covered in sin. It will be riddled with shame and smothered in regrets.

But there is a way to give to the Lord BETTER than our best. We can obey and give HIM our whole being. Don’t put on a fake front and only give until it start hurting……give BETTER…. give until HE washes away the hurt, grime, sin , shame and regret. Obey is BETTER.

He Opens Doors as others Close

We are taught that we must be proactive. We must be willing to be courageous. We must create our own destiny. We must take whatever steps are necessary to succeed. And all these things are true. The thing is when I’m doing all those things with my own power the outcomes do not always have a happy ending. Whose teachings am I getting my mindset from? Whose strength am I building my courage? Whose promises am I depending on for my destiny? And whose steps am I following?

I have found and I am being reminded, “a door is never closed 
that a more beautiful one is not opened when I allow Jesus to open it”. I praise Him daily for always showing me His mercy and love.

Psalm 109:26
Help me, LORD my God; save me according to your unfailing love.

I am Thankful

I am Thankful!I am thankful for those who treated me poorly (whatever the circumstance). I am thankful for each experience that brought heart ache and pain. I am thankful for the many bad decisions I made and the many crazy directions I took.

You want to know why?

For each of those times someone treated me badly it pushed me farther from them and closer to HIM. With each experience that brought heart ache and pain I felt the presence of Jesus. With each of the many bad decisions and wrong directions the Holy Spirit drew me back on the path and allowed me to see the light of HIS glory.

Ultimately I am being molded into the person that God would have me be because of this life I have lead. I am more intentional with my relationships. I have more empathy and compassion for those in pain. I have seen that relying on self is not the path I want to choose so I rely on HIM more.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Awake

Why must the mind race when the body wants to rest? Has this ever happened to you? I’ve gone through periods of times when I just couldn’t shut it off. And I wonder, why?

Sometimes I could tell you specifically what was troubling my mind. Was it an illness, a sin, a misfortune? Was it a trouble within or brought from a force from without?

Sometimes I have no idea. That is almost more troubling then knowing specifically. Why is my mind racing on these things?

I lay my head down, close my eyes and start counting…… 99… 98…97…96…95 and so on. Sometimes that works and I pray I stay at rest. But then others times…… I count down to 1 and have to start all over.

Is He trying to tell me something? Am I not trusting and depending on Him enough? Speak louder Lord, help me trust and show me the promises that will make my dependence strong.

One of the best known scriptures that I would turn to for rest and trust is….

Matthew 11:28-30  (MEV)

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me. For I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

I can read this and I totally believe each word but my mind still races. Even in times when my soul is a rest my mind wants to take over. Satan is running rampant on my mind. He is entangling all my thoughts and using them to control my body. “If I can make her body weary then she will be more susceptible to my control”, he says. How do I fight him? I turn to Jesus and I allow Jesus to do my fighting for me.

So what scripture does Jesus have to help me? What is He showing me through this night of awake?

Psalm 4:8  (MEV)

I will both lie down in peace and sleep;  for You, Lord, make me dwell safely and securely.

Isaiah 26:3  (MEV)

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

Psalm 23  (MEV)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Philippians 4:6-7 (MEV)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Exodus 14:14 (NIV)

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

So I read and I rest in Him. My mind finds a place of peace and my soul a place of refreshment. As long as I am in His word then my mind is full of His promises and His love and there is no room in there for anything else.

And know I lay down. I find my mind asleep at last.

Thank you Lord!

Change and Joy in 2019

My 2 words for 2019!  I know, nobody wants change but everyone wants joy.  The reality is sometimes, most of the time, to find that joy, change has to happen.  That change may be physical, geographical, spiritual and emotional but it takes internal change to have joy.  And it may take one of the others to have that internal joy.  Nobody wants Change but everyone wants Joy.

There has been much change for me in 2018 and great anticipated change in 2019.  I have found that even though change may be painful, joy has always been a byproduct once I allow the Holy Spirit to guide my change.  Over the last several years I have little by little gave up trying to control every aspect of my life.  Some control has been easier to let go of than others.  Some control has created more pain than others but control does not equal joy. 

I wait with great anticipation to see where the Holy Spirit leads me in 2019.  What change is in store for me!  What Joy will be in abundance!  What love, what forgiveness, what grace and what mercy Jesus has coming my way.  In 2019 I’m embracing change and will walk through that change with great JOY!