Monday, January 30, 2012

A Good Piece of Meat on a Monday.....

I saw this on Facebook today:

Though true enough where the body is concerned, this principle can be applied across the board of life.

It seems commonplace these days that people express desire through a look or a word for what others have, but rarely step-up and exert the steadfast effort and sacrifice it takes to bring such achievements about in their own lives.

A successful LIFE, that which is abundantly fruitful, is the product of a LONG string of disciplined, diligent, concentrated, and self-denied MOMENTS.

Did you get that? I mean really get that?
Re-read it and focus on each word.

Disciplined. Diligent. Concentrated. Self-denied.

We have become, by and large, a society of microwave spectators. We want the grand views and cushy seats now with little to no effort on our part. We prefer box seats, but at the very least "deserve" covered ones. And while valet parking would rock, we just know we better not have to park in the "Z" lot!

Now you maybe laughing, but you get my point and you know it's true!

Grace is not another word for "entitlement." I'll not go into it here, but Paul said plenty on the subject. Never once did he condone grace as a cover for laziness, but edified us into action!

Spectators don't receive reward.

The players receive reward!

The human soul was truly meant to achieve through ACTION! You've been duped into thinking "spectating is the life." NO! No. No. You were NOT made with a large capacity for watching the clouds and butterflies.

Just as the body gets fat and lazy on too much cake, so too does the soul get fat and lazy on too much spectating. You were designed for WORK; you were designed for action. (Please notice I did not say you were not to have any cake! What's one of my favorites words? BALANCE. Good - you remembered!)

Final word of warning:

If you aren't willing to play...
and play hard at that,
that's your choice...

Just make sure you guard
yourself against
envying those who do!

The sluggard craves and gets NOTHING,
but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
Prov 13:4

Now, go out and tackle your week,
with a LONG string of
disciplined, diligent, concentrated, and self-denied

You and your future will thank you!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Faithful God"

I know this beautiful song will bless each listener in its own way.

It has been posted to JITM's website under "Praise and Worship" for easy future reference.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Word of Caution

I shared the following comments on Facebook this morning. The motivation to my comments was the alarming number of Christian siblings I witnessed passing a particular article ("Don't Carpe Diem") along with affirmation as truth.... and dare I say, consolation. Allow me to share my comments, and then I will wrap up this post with a few closing remarks.

Initial comments:

There is an article going around the web about parenting called "Don't Carpe Diem." I have seen it a few times this morning. I cannot NOT comment. So here are a few things that stood out to me.

When I read this article, my emotions were stirred and wanted to voice their agreement, but my spirit was NOT shouting "amen."

The way she has written her article implies we are subject and slave to Chronos time and *may* - if we are fortunate -- be blessed with a few Kairos "glimpses" along the way. My spirit grieves this perspective. The Word says He orders my days. That does not sound like I am to be swept away or frazzled.

To read her take, God has set us out on a difficult, grueling, frazzling, nail-biting, Mt. Everest climb. Again, if this is indeed her perspective, I grieve for her.

I'm not saying parenting is easy -- far from it, but the God I know "leads those with young gently," takes our burdens and carries our load, yet balances these blessings with instructions for us to sow with diligence both day and evening, and commands for our hands not to be idle. My difficulty, in a nutshell, is that she has chosen to take her perspective, I perceive to be rooted in emotion, as truth, instead of what God's Word says on the matter.

Call me crazy -- but I really do believe God has granted to me everything needed to bring order to my home and to raise respectful children who have ears to hear Him.

Another friend of mine posted a blog entry this morning -- ironically titled "Carpe Diem." He puts it this way: "... where I have thrown my hands into the sky, thrown my head back, and with a smile a mile wide on my face, said to the One I trust the most - I TRUST YOU! BRING IT ON! 'I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. John 10:10' "

While we don't control diddly in life (except our decision to follow Christ!), those of us who do belong to Christ, belong to the One who controls everything. In that I find tremendous ease and enjoyment to this thing called life.

It's easy to give into our emotions - after all, they run on a downhill grade - but GOD calls us to step into the current and command it to go in a different direction through His power and presence.

Dear ones, we have got to become more vigilant in who we affirm. Passing on links from various websites and articles written does impact the people in our sphere of influence.

It does not surprise me that these types of articles are quickly passed around as they affirm the emotions so many feel, but that doesn't make it right. EVERYTHING must be weighed against the counsel of God.

I deeply desire people to walk in the liberty and the power of GOD. Too many are being swept away by their feelings and their emotions. For the sake of the Body, I pray before ANY article is passed along, that it be weighed against God's Word. There is enough leaven already in the Body without adding to it.

Here's a testimony from a sister who wrote today, concerning my comments on the article, that emphasizes the IMPORTANCE of responsible sharing on the web (and what happens when we pass leaven along): "When I originally read the post a few weeks ago, my initial reaction was, 'I will not speak that as truth in my life.' However, the more people I saw share it (including many friends who's opinion and counsel I seek), I began to go against my initial rejection of it and actually let myself be comforted by HER words. 'OK, so I'm not the only one who has crazy, frazzled days...' I've been so convicted lately of how much time I'm spending in other people's words, and NOT God's, and this was just another nudge from the Man himself."

Be careful what you pass along to your siblings in Christ, making sure it lines up with God's Word.


Friday, January 13, 2012

A Full Heart

It's Friday morning. The wind is howling outside, yet the sunlight is radiant. I'm sitting in the warmth of my home on the coziest red couch I could imagine. To one side of me is a hot cup of coffee, the kind where the steam waifs up through the air and penetrates the soul. To the other side of me is the most profound Anchor ever written, a grounding of utmost import. I am encapsulated by the most intoxicating Peace.... and my heart is full... abundantly and profoundly full.

My life joyously runs at a fast clip most days, but I would not be happier any other way! I am the mother to two teens and one pre-teen. They are blessed to be schooled at home; or perhaps I should say I am the one blessed, for the memories I have over the years are priceless treasures, stored deep in my heart. I am a prolific student of the Word, as well as a prolific writer. I am one of those strange people who can happily bypass eating, using the time for greater passions and purpose. I never imagined my forties to be as they are. Alive is the word that comes to mind. I feel fully awake .... all encumbrances and confinements of the mind and being have been broken off.... every fiber of my being echos God's word to me: "You are mine! You are fully and wholly liberated to do all that I have created you to do; fully and wholly liberated to enjoy all the pleasures of life, love, marriage, and family; fully and wholly liberated to passionately love and passionately weep. You are liberated, my daughter, into the wholeness of life!"

Life; I love every moment of it. I love the gift of being able to feel life. Have you ever pondered the "feeling of life?" It's amazing. The gains. The losses. The ebb. The flow. It all has a feel, a rhythm to it. A time for work... a time for play. A time to put forth fruit.... a time for pruning. A time for doing... a time for waiting. A time for joy... a time for sorrow. (And for my closest girlfriends, this one is for you: A time for coffee... a time for cayenne.)

But you know, my perspective on life hasn't always been as it is has been in say the past ten years or so. I'll not revisit my past perspectives in this writing except to say they were dark at times. I have said it before, but it bears repeating: What was is not what is nor what will be! Meditate on that statement in light of God Almighty, the Great I AM!

This morning, as I awoke in my husband's arms, I was struck with an image. If one stands with their back against the sun, there is a visible shadow one cannot ignore. But if you turn and face the sun, the shadow - though still there - is no longer truly visible as the focal point because it lies behind you. Putting this into a spiritual paradigm, if you stand intentionally (willfully) or ignorantly (casually without deliberation) with your back (a picture of the human will) against (or in opposition to) the Son, your past (the shadow), with all its sins and failures, will consume your scope of vision. BUT, if you resolutely turn towards the Son (wholly and utterly submit your will to His will), your past (the shadow) is behind you, and the only thing filling that scope of vision is the path of life between you and Him, full of possibilities and free of past shadows!

I encourage you to turn your back on the shadow of the past. Let it NOT have dominion and power over you in the form of shadow-casting on your day at hand! Instead, turn and face Jesus.... as the hymn of old says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus (and KEEP THEM THERE!), look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." (The words "and KEEP THEM THERE" were added by yours truly. ;o) )

Eventually the negative fruit from the negative seeds you have sown in your past will come to an end.... just make sure you don't keep sowing the negative seeds, expecting positive fruit in your future. That's a clear example of foolishness!

Perhaps this song will be of significance to those of you struggling to let go of the past...

"Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
Seek the Lord and His strength;
yearn for and seek His face
and to be in His presence continually!"
I Chronicles 16: 10-11

Yes, Lord, I am deeply thankful my habitation is with you, and Yours with me. Life is a grand treasure... GRAND! And this morning, as a part of life, has been a fine morning.... a fine morning indeed.... Thank You!

Much love to YOU today!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Facebook Quote

This morning, as I was wrapping up a few things on the computer, I saw the following quote on a friend's status:

"Before you speak, listen.
Before you write, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you invest, investigate.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
Before you retire, save.
Before you die, give."

(By: William A. Ward)

I find this quote immediately dominoes
my thoughts into a teaching moment. Too often we "freeze" people, not in the sense of cold, but in the sense of a "fixed point." They do or say something(s), and that something(s) becomes a fixed point of reference for us. Of course, this is wrong of us, but we do it all the time.

I challenge each of us today to be willing to see people as Jesus sees them... a work in progress. If a person behaved badly ten years ago, five years ago, or "just yesterday," that point in time is NOT today. Resist the "fixed point" in the past becoming a state of being in the present. Such a determination to hold fast to the past undercuts what God may have done or is doing in that person's life from "then to now."

One time, my youngest son expressed, "Mom, sometimes I feel like they (my two older children) still see and treat me as I was when I was younger... like seven, but I'm not seven anymore." When my two older children heard this, they were moved to reassess their perspective and their behavior. May we too be moved to reassess our perspective and behavior, giving people the benefit of God's ability toward maturation in their lives.

As I close, I wanted to add a few of my own personal thoughts on Mr. Ward's quote:

"Before you speak, listen.

I used to be quick to speak.... WAY TOO QUICK..... until I learned just how restful listening is. (Oh, and don't misuse Ecc 5:2 to bring you into a state of muteness! This verse has to do with our words TO GOD. Our goal with people should be that when we speak our words are weighty and meaningful, and they will be if we have learned the art of "holding our tongue," as the old expression went. It's about proper balance, and God is more than able to teach the proper balance to any one interested. Seeing that He taught me, I KNOW He can teach you! ;o))

"Before you write, think."

I used to be quick to write.... until I learned how damaging the written word can truly be upon the heart of a soul. As I writer, I have learned to write as if I were the receiver. To be sure it is one of the dearest lessons I have learned.

"Before you spend, earn."

I have never been a fast spender, except perhaps bubble gum as a child. ;o) My mother used to say I spent every dime of my allowance on bubble gum. While I don't recall spending EVERY dime on bubble gum, I will confess I spent a lot of them on it! (Hey, I picked up the lifelong skill of blowing some killer bubbles, so it wasn't all lost! ;o) )

"Before you invest, investigate."

I wholeheartedly believe in wise stewardship (Thank you, mom and dad, for deeply instilling this in me!), so investigating before investing is a natural bent of mine.

"Before you criticize, wait."

Oh, this is huge, dear ones; HUGE! When it comes to being critical, MUCH time waiting should be sown such that God is given place to remove the "emotional baggage" out of the message. The message should not contain knives cloaked in sugar nor fangs dripping with venom.

"Before you pray, forgive."

Forgiveness is the gateway to God's throne. No point in praying to a closed gate!

"Before you quit, try."

To fail, all one has to do is not try.

"Before you retire, save."

Saving not only leads to "retirement," but to the next generation's inheritance. The Word mentions inheritance over two hundred times. I'll let the Word speak for Itself by challenging you to look some of the verses up yourself. ;o) (Hey, what kind of teacher would I be if I did it for you?!)

"Before you die, give."

And lastly: the edification to give before dying. I'll take this a step further: live a giving life. The pulse of your giving heart is not discernible through the stroking of checks to organizations deemed worthy, but whether it is discernible through wisely sowing seeds of generosity into the lives of those who surround us; your spouse, your children, your friends and family, and those in need you both know and know not. A giving life is evident by its visible growth and fruit! Yes, live a giving life! You won't regret it!

So, dear ones:
Resist freezing people in some past state of being....
See them as you and I both are --- works in progress....
And then heed Mr. Ward's wise words.

It's going to be a fine day! Live it well..... live it fully... and most importantly, live it with a thankful heart!

Love to you!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pictures from 2011

I richly enjoy times of reflection, and today happens to be one of those times! I have so enjoyed looking back on the photos from our 2011 family adventures. I enjoyed them so much I selected a few photos to share with you... well, okay... more than a few... but I hope you enjoy a quick scan of them nonetheless!

Husband's birthday (Feb 2011)

One of our many backyard neighbors (Winter 2011)

Out cycling with the family (Spring 2011)

Sunset (Spring 2011)

West Coast (Spring 2011)

(Summer 2011)

Playing ball (Summer 2011)

Summer camp (Summer 2011)

Special friends (Summer 2011)

Very creative summer building project :o)
(Summer 2011)

Vacation (Summer 2011)

My two sons' birthday celebration (Fall 2011)

First race (Fall 2011)

Vacation (Fall 2011)

Mountain trip (Fall 2011)

Cycling (Fall 2011)

State Fair (Fall 2011)

(Fall 2011)

Rock Climbing (Fall 2011)

Christmas Fun (Winter 2011)

"Blue Eyes" (Winter 2011)

Christmas morning (Winter 2011)

Our sweet "Angel"

Angel's new bed (Winter 2011)

I LOVE my son's facial expression in this photo!
Yes, this picture has a story, but I'll leave it at this:
My son: "That's cool, Mom!"
(Winter 2011)

The Family (Winter 2011)

HAPPY 2012, ALL!
It's going to be GRAND!