I Forgot!

remember I forgot k-images via unsplash

I had a tough day. Not tough by global standards, mind you. I still had clean water and plenty to eat. Not even tough by normal standards. I wasn’t sick. My husband still loved me. My kids were doing well…But it was one of those days when the world overwhelmed me. A busy week had worn me out. I had a few hard issues to face, and business conflicts, and, by golly, my printer wouldn’t even work! By mid-afternoon, I was in bed weeping, then slept for a good long while. I had forgotten—

  • That, while it really is okay to cry, and to be sad on occasion, there’s an infinite Source of joy and support standing right beside me, available if I’ll just stop to notice.
  • That our troubles really belong to Him, and he’s able to handle them all the time.
  • That prayer truly does change things, within and without.
  • That sometimes all we need is rest, and quiet, and a moment to remember…

They say, whoever “they” are, that the best way to learn something is to teach it. In a way, I teach when I write. I have learned these lessons before, but on that difficult day, for a few painful hours, I forgot them. Perhaps you forget them now and then as well. So, here are a few reminders, for both of us, blogs I wrote long ago based on the words of writers I respect:

‘Hope you’ll take these reminders to heart, both today and on the next day that life threatens to overwhelm you. We serve a mighty God, and he can handle whatever comes our way. We may have pain or hardship or even just plain old irritation, but even then we can take a breath and let our spirits rest in him.

Advertisements

Grumbling about a Gift

Grocery grumbling about a gift Fikri Rasyid via unsplasAs I write today, I’m hungry. And my cupboard is bare. Okay, not really bare. By third world standards, it’s bursting at the seams. But I’m out of vegetables, almost out of fruit and down to my last container of homemade soup. Definitely time to hit HEB. (The best grocery chain in the country, for all you non-Texans out there.) I’m a little tired. It’s Friday afternoon, (I write my blogs ahead of time) so the place will be mobbed. Moments ago, I was feeling just a little sorry about having to leave my quiet computer corner in order to go shop, Then I came across this excerpt from my sister-in-law’s most recent email regarding the task of grocery shopping.

“[Grocery shopping is] one of those very gratifying chores, where you have a task to complete and it gets done!  And it’s lovely along the way… I honestly think grocery shopping is good for my soul, since I am more reflective about the abundance of variety and colors in fresh food, extra grateful for provision and the means to buy things that are healthy and good, etc.  Okay, enough of that, but I am with you.  And seriously, thank you for always making time spent on your turf so easy and fun!

She’s coming soon, you see. There will be 13 of us gathered together, and I was telling her how I’m looking forward to stocking up on all the food for our celebration. Usually, I like grocery shopping for the same reasons she mentioned. And as I re-read her quote, I was reminded again of how easy I have it, how easy almost all of us have it.

  • I’ve never had to wring a chicken’s neck or butcher a cow.
  • I don’t even have to weed a garden or grind flour unless I want to.
  • I only pick fruit or harvest fresh veggies when out on a lark in the country.

So, yes, I’m thankful! And yes, I will go shopping—today! In the crowds. As I do, I’ll think about the abundant gift of being able to buy all the food my family needs in one place in about an hour’s time.

  • And when I do the laundry this week, I’ll remember how unusual it is, by global standards, to have so many shirts and pairs of pants.
  • And when I mop the floor, I’ll think of those who barely have a home or maybe have a dirt floor.
  • And when I have to pay those gas prices? I’ll remember how excited some missionary friends of mine were to get a car.

Do you ever complain, then realize you’re actually grumbling about a gift, feeling bad about keeping up with all that you’ve been given? Let’s stop all that nonsense. Begin anew with me today to have a thankful heart. And if you care to share—I’ll be checking in here to read all about it.

May God bless you with a healthy dose of gratitude all week long!

Photo by Fikri Rasyid via Unsplash.com.

Marvelous Mercy by Beth Smith

marvelous mercy m and m robertIn my hometown, you could say anything bad about anybody as long as you said, “Bless their hearts” first, like this:

  • “Bless his heart, he never did have the brains God gave a grasshopper.”
  • “Did you see that outfit Edna Mae wore to church last Sunday? Bless her heart, you know she must be color blind.”

Not exactly the Biblical concept of blessing, huh? And we misused the word “mercy” this way:

  • “Lord have mercy, she looks like a hussy. You’d think she’d have better sense than to wear her clothes so tight.”
  • “Lord have mercy, was that Deacon Jones coming out of the liquor store?”

Sometimes we said “it’s a mercy” or “for mercy’s sake,” or, if we had a lot to say and were in a hurry, just plain “mercy.”

  • “It’s a mercy he hasn’t had a wreck – the way that boy drives.”
  • “For mercy’s sake, you know they don’t have the money for that new car. They’re going into debt again.”

But here’s the truth. “Mercy” and “blessing” are important words when we use them the right way. We are blessed, and God’s mercy is marvelous.

  • Mercy means compassionate treatment. God treats us with compassion when we surrender our lives to him.
  • Mercy means undeserved kindness. Because Christ has paid the penalty for our sins, God gives us mercy instead of justice.
  • Merciful people are inclined to forgive. That describes God, too. It’s a good thing, because we all need his forgiveness.

How do we know God is merciful? In Exodus, when Moses was on Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, God appeared and described himself as, “The God of compassion and mercy…slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6 NLT).

Mercy was a favorite topic of David’s. In the Psalms we read:

  • I have trusted in thy mercy” (Psalm 13:5 KJV).
  • I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy” (Psalm 31:7 KJV).
  • The Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting” (Psalm 100:5 KJV).

David knew God was merciful, that he needed God’s mercy, and that he could ask for it and receive it. So can we, not because of any goodness in us, but because mercy is one aspect of God’s character. His very nature is to be merciful.

Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) says, “Let us then approach God’s throne with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Since we receive mercy, we’re instructed to give it as well. Jesus said, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36 NIV).

So here’s an unusual challenge for you. Every time you see an M&M let it remind you that you’re blessed by God’s Marvelous Mercy. God is kind and loving. He knows all things and is all-powerful. And being blessed by his mercy is a truly wonderful gift.

Photo by Robert Anasch via Unsplash

 

Wise Guy

bible proverbs wise guy Luis Quintero via unsplash

I’m reading “The Message” by Eugene H. Peterson. Yes, I know, it’s a somewhat controversial book. Some say it makes the Bible easier to understand. Others decry it as too far afield of the translations we’re used to reading. Let’s set those arguments aside and see The Message as, at the very least, the work of a learned man who loved the Lord and wanted his congregation to get into the Word. You can check it out at Biblegateway or YouVersion . Today, though, I’d like to share an edited excerpt of Peterson’s introduction to the book of Proverbs. You won’t find it on either of the sites listed above. I own a kindle copy and read it there.

“Wisdom is the art of living skillfully in whatever actual conditions we find ourselves… A college degree is no certification of wisdom…Wisdom has to do with becoming skillful in

  • honoring parents
  • raising children
  • handling money
  • conducting our sexual lives
  • going to work
  • exercising leadership
  • using words well
  • treating friends kindly
  • eating and drinking healthfully
  • cultivating peace.

Threaded through all these items is the insistence that the way we think of and respond to God is the most practical thing we do. In matters of everyday practicality, nothing, absolutely nothing, takes precedence over God.”

This passage drives home yet again the need to see the Bible as our Manufacturer’s Handbook. Those of us who neglect its wisdom—or kid ourselves into thinking there’s little current wisdom available within its pages—do so at our own peril. On the other hand, by keeping our noses in that Book and applying what we find there, we often discover that smoother sailing can indeed be ours.

I’d like to know your favorite Proverb, or a tale of how following Biblical instruction helped you out in a “worldly” and practical way. Three dear friends have gotten the ball rolling below:

Paul: “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.”

(Perhaps this the proverbial way of saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Or maybe Paul was just messing with me.)

Nadine: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

(This one gives me more peace than any other when I’m faced with a big decision.)

Lorri: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

(Oh, how different the world would be if we all followed that bit of advice!)

And now, how about you? What’s your favorite proverb? Has following it helped?

Photo by Luis Quintero via Unsplash.co

Movie Week

 

film-1392143__480 movie week pixabay

I have quite the husband. He joined me in watching all three of my favorite movies last month. All three! Even though we own them—and have watched them multiple times—we laughed and loved every minute. Then I got to thinking, why those three?

Well, first of all, here’s my list of winners:

The Family Man (PG-13 2000) earned a separate blog post at this site in 2013 because of my favorite quote, “I choose us.” This Christmas tale follows Jack (played by Nicholas Cage), a Wall Street Executive who gets a chance to glimpse the life that might have been. Bonus: The kids in that movie are almost as cute as my grandchildren.

A Good Year (PG-13 2006) This cinematic beauty introduces us to Max—both as a youngster and as a wildly successful London stock broker. The adult Max (Russell Crowe), having inherited a vineyard in Provence, is forced to remember his past and re-evaluate his present life. The movie isn’t as heavy as the description makes it sound. There’s plenty of humor woven into the message.

The Kid (PG 2000) This one appeals to the sci-fi/fantasy buff in me. Bruce Willis plays a self-absorbed jerk who doesn’t even realize what he’s missing until a mysterious kid shows up and…Well, I can’t really tell you what happens next. You’ll have to see for yourself. Watching Lily Tomlin as his secretary adds to the fun, though. If you haven’t seen it, don’t let anyone talk to you about it. They might spoil the terrific ending.

Why are these three movies my favorites? Perhaps because of their common story threads:

  • Family trumps wealth.
  • Love softens the hardest heart.
  • Relationships are where the real joy begins.
  • Kindness counts and often pays off rather well.

These are “secular” movies, and I’ve listed a few warnings about their ratings below. Still, they reiterate lessons many of us learned in Sunday school:

  • Love one another.
  • Be faithful in marriage.
  • Value family and friends.
  • Practice kindness.
  • Enjoy children.
  • Be careful not to love money.

So, if you’re looking for something to do next time the movie bug bites, consider my favorites. And let me know yours. I’ve got plenty of popcorn waiting, and I’m always looking for a good recommendation! Have a great week.

Photo by kalhh via pixabay.com

I Interrupt These Blog Posts..

texting

My post this week is a departure from the usual sort of material you will find at this site. I want to share an article with you about cell phone usage  and driving. Before you say, “Oh, Brother!” consider this:

·       We are to be responsible stewards of the gifts God gives us.

·       We are to care for our bodies, as they are temples of the Holy Spirit.

·       And we are to love one another, which surely must include looking out for one another’s safety.

With all of that in mind, I’d like to share this information from the March/April 2019 issue of Texas Journey (page 9, to be exact.) These bulleted points are findings by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, and I’m sure are not a comprehensive list of the facts. Note, also, that this list doesn’t distinguish between hand-held use and hands-free use, as both pose risk. 

  • Looking at a phone for just two seconds doubles the risk of a crash.
  • At a speed of 55 miles per hour, a driver texting for only five seconds will travel the length of a football field, driving virtually blind before looking at the road again.
  • Mental distraction can linger for up to 27 seconds after using an electronic device. 
  • Drivers using cell phones [to either talk or text] are up to four times more likely to crash.
  • The safest way to drive is simply not to use the cell phone when driving.

My friends, I hope you will reconsider your need to multitask. Turn on some praise music and focus on the drive. If we all do that, somewhere down the road many lives will be saved.

photo by StockSnap via Pixabay