Enough

Do you feel that you are enough?  The better question is are you enough where you are right at this moment with no changes or take backs?

Long sigh….

The problem is that we live in a society that says we never have enough in our lives.  It also lies to us and tells us that we’ll be happy whenever we get to the “enough” status we’ve been working towards.

Don’t listen to this nonsense!!

I’m not saying we shouldn’t be working towards goals in our lives, but I am saying that most of us deal with some sort of “not enough” problem on a regular basis that is just not necessary.

Maybe it is money, time, vacations, or (insert whatever you don’t think you have enough of).  The list certainly is endless and many of us have multiple things that we wish we had more of.  However, these things suffocate the gratitude and joy of TODAY!

Brene Brown, one of my favorite authors, says, “When we allow ourselves to become culturally conditioned to believe that we are not enough and that we don’t make enough or have enough, it damages our soul.”

Wow!!

The one thing we can do to combat the “not enough” problem is to be grateful for the here and now.  A few thoughts include:

  1. Be grateful for good health.
  2. Be grateful for another day.
  3. Be grateful for food to eat.
  4. Be grateful for friends and family.
  5. Be grateful for clean air to breathe.

Remember that we are enough (just the way we are) for God.  He loves us right where we are today.

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 22:7 – The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

Entitlement

entitlementI was recently talking to one of my friends about the problem our world has with entitlement these days…it seems that everywhere you look you have someone screaming for their fair share or for something for nothing!!!  Geez!

Unfortunately, it made me sad to think that if I’m truly honest (sigh) even I struggle with feelings of deserving when in actuality none of us deserve a thing.

In fact, we deserve death as a result of our sin.  Yikes!

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

It stinks to think that we deserve such a harsh punishment, but it’s the truth.  Of course, we all have our excuses ready.  You know the ones you tell yourself.  They sound something like this:

  • I didn’t mean to…
  • It didn’t really hurt anyone…
  • I’m not that bad…
  • I’m definitely not as bad as so and so…
  • Oh, that’s not a sin…
  • Uh, I didn’t know that was a sin…
  • Surely, God didn’t see that one…

Entitlement is a deadly way to live.  It stunts our growth and changes our attitudes (and not for the better).  It does nothing but make us miserable and it steals our thankfulness.

Furthermore, feelings of deserving take away the joy of the many blessings and gifts we have been given.

It’s unfortunate how many of us fall into the entitlement trap!  But, the good news is that we CAN be rescued from its tight grip.

The best way is to remember all that we have to be thankful for and most importantly, to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for us.

Changing our outlooks to ones of gratitude and thankfulness leave little room for entitlement!!!!!

So, the next time you feel like you deserve something better, just remember Jesus on the cross.  You might have a change of heart!

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 29:11 – A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

Jesus

Jesus“The church without Jesus in the midst of it is just a social club. Worship without the living Christ in it is just another form of cheap entertainment. Bible study without the living Christ in it is just a book club. Outreach without Christ is just social work. Ministry without the living Christ in it is just programming. Faith without the living Christ in it is just wishful thinking and self-appraisement. I look at the church and wonder are we trying to fish with Christ or without him? What needs to happen for you to be in the light?”

I often wonder what people do if they don’t have Christ in their life and the above quote from my pastor a few Sunday’s ago really tells me what the reality of life is without Christ in the midst of it.

Since I can’t imagine my own life without Him, I can only say that for me, my sad moments would be sadder and the happy moments wouldn’t be so great.  Yuck!  It’s hard enough WITH HIM!!!

Plus, I don’t want the ordinary life that the world offers.  I want the extraordinary that only comes through Christ living within in me day in and day out.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1John 4:10

Sure…the world can offer social clubs, cheap entertainment, books clubs and social work, but I want the life that provides a love like no other, miracles at every corner and a peace that is beyond human understanding!!!

Unfortunately, loads of people want to be spiritual, but in doing so also want to leave out Jesus.

This doesn’t work for me because Jesus is not only my Savior because He died on the cross for me, but He’s also my teacher of life.  I personally don’t want to do without either because I would be at a complete loss.

But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.  Hebrews 2:9

Jesus is my rock and my redeemer.  He is the Truth, The Way and The Light.  Who could want for more?

So, the next time you think about leaving Jesus out of the picture, remember that He came into the world to save it and we all need a little saving!!!

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 4:5 – Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.

Faking…

safe shipNormally, I’m a big proponent for “faking it until you make it.”  However, I’m learning that sometimes you just shouldn’t fake your feelings of hopelessness and loneliness (or any other feelings for that matter) because they need to be let out and cared for so that you can feel better in the long run.

So much for a lifelong mantra!!

Stuffing the feelings down sounds a whole lot better, but it’s just not possible when they bubble up and overflow like a raging river running over its boundaries.

Feelings have a way of coming out regardless of whether we stuff them, hide them or try to ignore them.

Unfortunately, I think most of us learned from a very young age to get it right the first time or else face harsh ridicule and judgment from others.

We need to fix this.

Life is a journey…not a destination.  It’s a series of mountains and valleys that follow us all of our days.  And some of those days are spent wallowing in a deserted place and others are danced into the morning on a paradise island (or whatever metaphor works for your bad and good times – clearly, my good times would have an umbrella in my drink).

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 1Peter 4:12

The truth is that from our personal perspective comes the harshness or ease of life.  Our lives are from our point of views and that’s why our attitudes matter so much!!  No one else counts when it comes to our own attitude.

That being said, if our attitudes stink, I can bet that most other things in life will follow suit.  But, if we pray for an attitude like Christ, we will see life much differently.

Easier said than done.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2Corinthians 12:9

The pit of despair is a deep one, but not impossible to climb out of.  Our bad attitudes and terrible feelings can keep us there longer than need be, but our Lord and Savior can pull us out just in the nick of time!

We just have to stay focused upward instead of inward!!

I read something recently that said, “Before you take it to someone else, take it to God.”

Our first and best plan of action for anything we are facing today is to take it to God in prayer.  Better yet, go to Him in prayer with your Bible in hand and you will be amazed at the guidance you’ll find.

The one thing we have to keep in mind is that just because we ask – it doesn’t mean we will receive the answer we want or in the way we want.  (That stinks, I know!)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

Sometimes we are in a place where God is teaching us something like patience, humility, or dependence on Him.  None of these are bad to have, but none of them are fun to go through.

No matter how you are feeling today, lean on God and you will start feeling better in no time!

Breathe.  God’s got you.  He’s going to lead you to a new place with the strength, wisdom and courage you need.

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 30:5 – Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Needy

more than you knowSometimes the encourager needs a little encouragement and the caretaker needs to be taken care of.  Sigh.

For those of us who know these roles so well, asking for help is not easy.

The reason why is because we are used to relying on an endless wealth of joy and encouragement to lend to others, but what happens when our own well dries up?

Well, I can tell you from experience it’s a scary place where you feel like a fish out of water.  Worse, you feel like you are at a fork in the road with about a million paths to take, but none sound like the right one for you.

At this point, fear is your worst enemy because it whispers in your ear:

  1. You will never get your joy back.
  2. God is punishing you for your sin.
  3. You deserve this.
  4. There is something wrong with you.
  5. No one else has ever felt like this.
  6. This pit is too deep to crawl out of.
  7. You’ve done this to yourself.
  8. Everyone else has it together, why can’t you?
  9. You’re never going to be okay again.
  10. People think you’ve lost your mind.

Man, oh man…Satan sure has a big and loud mouth when we are suffering!!!!  YIKES!!!

The truth is that Satan is a liar.

Yes, we may be in a horrible place right now and completely depleted, but this is just one of many seasons we will face as we go through life.

Better yet, God has a wealth of promises that can help us overcome the mountain of fear that sometimes jumps on our back and refuses to get off during our times in the desert.  Some of these include:

He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak.  The people who trust the Lord will become strong again.  They will rise up as an eagle in the sky; they will run and not need rest; they will walk and not become tired.  Isaiah 40:29,31

Jesus will keep you strong until the end so that there will be no sin in you on the day our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.  God, who has called you to share everything with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. 1Corinthians 1:8-9

The Lord’s love never ends; his mercies never stop.  They are new every morning; Lord, your loyalty is great.  I say to myself, “the Lord is mine, so I hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to those who seek him.  Lamentations 3:22-25

All of these say to me that better days are on the horizon!  Halleluiah!

We may be defeated, but God will lift us up.  We may be sad, but God hears our prayers.  We may be confused, but God will give us wisdom and discernment.  We may be lost and lonely, but God will fill our God-shaped hole in our heart.

No matter where you are today, God will lead you through it if you’ll just ask Him to.

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 16:33 – The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.

Act of Worship

I can’tprayer seem to get the movie War Room out of my mind lately.  Not that I want to, but the power of prayer keeps popping into my head and moves me to talk to God a lot more often these days.

That’s always a good thing!

I think the War Room just reminds me how powerful our prayers are and how critical they are to purposeful living.

It also prompts me to realize that God is not a genie in a bottle and prayer is not a way to get our wishes to come true.

Prayer is actually an act of worship.

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Matthew 6:9-13

Yes, God wants us to tell Him what we need, but He also wants us listen to Him during the process as well.

All too often we seek answers and guidance from God, but don’t listen to His wisdom.  Or worse, we hear the direction He tells us to go, but we don’t agree so we take our own path.

Prayer is a two-way street.  It is all about giving God glory, thanking Him for all that we have, asking for forgiveness and lastly…asking for the desires of our hearts.

The problem is with our selfishness and not God’s abiding love for us.

God wants the very best for us, but we have to be willing to do it His Way because He’s the one with all the answers.

Funny how humans seem to do a good job of messing things up – even something as simple as praying!!!

It’s really too bad we “forget” to pray, how to pray and what to pray.

That’s one of the reasons I love the above scripture with the Lord’s Prayer because it gives insight on what is really important in our prayer lives.

So, shouldn’t we pray like Jesus taught us to?

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 28:9 – If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.

War Room

power of prayerIf you haven’t seen the movie, War Room, you really should because it demonstrates the power of our prayers.

The movie has tons of great parts, but the jist of it is that this one lady has made a closet in her home her prayer room and spends time daily in there talking and listening to God.  She says she is taking up the battle against evil by putting her life in the hands of God!

You should see the power she invokes in the name of Jesus Christ.  It really is amazing!

We all need a war room!

Think about how much different our lives could be by spending quality time with our God daily!!! How much more strength and courage would we have because we were leaning on the Provider instead of ourselves?!?!

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.  Matthew 6:6

I found one scene very telling where two women are discussing whether one of the characters is hot or cold for Jesus and she said she was somewhere in the middle, therefore, the other character serves her some lukewarm coffee and asked how she liked it.

This reminds me of Revelations 3:16, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

God doesn’t want us just a little.  He wants our entire being, our everything, our good, bad and ugly!  And He wants it all the time.

We can create this relationship through prayer and reading His Word.

The War Room just visualized what we already know:  there is mighty power in prayer.

Are you fighting the battle alone or through prayer allowing God to fight the battle for you?

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 15:29 – The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

Be Kind

be kindThe elections are really a good indicator of the kind of people we are…not by the person we vote for, but by the way we treat others who disagree with us.

Ouch!

A testament to our true identity is how we react when faced with challenging people.

And unfortunately they are everywhere.

However, that doesn’t mean that we can toss the command to “love our neighbor” to the side just because someone is hateful to us.

Of course, that’s the easy route, but not the Christ-like one.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

I wish this was easier than it really is.

I recently saw a saying on Facebook that I really thought would help us all during this season of choices, differences and change:  In a world where we can be anything, be kind.

Simple, yet so true.

So, as we go through the next few months of political warfare, think about being kind at all times.

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 11:17 – A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.

Do We Do What We Can?

perfumeToday’s scripture reading from the New Testament was Mark 14 and boy, was it jam packed with loads of tidbits I could go on and on about!!!  Between the Last Supper, Peter’s denial, Judas’s betrayal and Jesus’ arrest…uh, WOW!!!

However, what I would like to focus on is the small mention of the woman who poured her expensive jar of perfume on Jesus’ head.  Huh.  Seems like such an odd thing to do.

The chapter doesn’t say much about the woman, but Jesus makes it a point to say that her story would be told in remembrance of her.  How cool is that?!?!?!!

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus.  “Why are your bothering her?  She has done a beautiful thing to me.  The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want.  But you will not always have me.  She did what she could.  She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.  Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”  Mark 14:6-9

I’d like to point out that Jesus says, “She did what she could.”

Hmmmm…do we do what we can?  I seriously doubt it.

In fact, I’d dare say that most of us are working harder on how to get ahead in life than we are to get ahead in heaven.

We are missing the point.  We should be:

  1. Feeding the poor.
  2. Having compassion for those heavy burdened.
  3. Loving our neighbors (regardless of whether they are nasty or not).
  4. Visiting the people in prison.
  5. Taking care of those sick or old or handicapped.
  6. Caring for the widows and orphans.
  7. Giving our time to the less fortunate.
  8. Using our gifts for God’s glory.
  9. Giving our money to just causes.
  10. And most importantly asking God what we should be doing!!!

Not that it’s a competition, but how cool would it be if we were all trying to outdo each other in loving acts instead of stepping on each other to reach the top of the financial mountain here on earth?

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10

And what would happen if we actually did what we could?  We would certainly live in a much different world.

Most of the time I do what I can to just get by.  Sigh…  That’s not good enough.  I should be doing what I can.

That can look like a whole lot of different things for each of us because we have different time commitments, bank accounts, and talents.  However, as we see with the woman and her perfume, it matters not what we bring to the table as long as we BRING IT.

There are many excuses to get out of this, but the truth is that we all need to be doing what we can.

Are you?

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 8:10-11 – Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

The Challenge

070“The Challenge” is what I’ve got on my blog calendar for today.  Hmmm…when in doubt go to scripture!!!

Clearly, I don’t have a clue what I was thinking when I came up with this topic, but this one in particular can be used for an enormous amount of things we deal with in life.

Between mom fails and kid issues to life-changing decisions and sorrow for friends’ tragedies – these are just some of the many challenges that we can face on a daily basis.

Some big, some not so earth-shattering, but challenging all the same.

The real challenge is to keep it all together without getting frustrated or discouraged in the meantime…and this is truly difficult.  Sigh.

Of course, that’s what scripture is for!!  In fact, today God helped me with my “blog challenge” by bringing me to 1Peter in Chapter 5 and showing me what to do with all these challenges.  Love it when He does that!!!

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  1Peter 5:6-7

Don’t think I didn’t key into the “due time” portion of that verse!!!  Yikes!!

The fact is that our challenges are with us for as long as they are with us and our job is to just lean on God through them.  I’d love them to be short, but that isn’t the way it usually is :o (

Strangely, I’m good at the earth-shattering bad stuff, but seem to sweat the small stuff on a regular basis.  Crazy!!

This saddens me because I know that it is how we deal with the little things (distractions) that really define who we are.  I guess that makes me one hot mess!!!  Not shocking, though!

Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1Peter 5:8-9

We each have our own set of issues and some days are worse than others.  However, the truth is that when we look to God each morning and give Him our day, He takes the challenges, too!

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1Peter 5:10

Life is full of challenges and some days will be better or worse than others.  But, knowing that God cares about the big and little challenges makes me realize, once again, what an amazing Heavenly Father we have.

The point is that God cares about EVERYTHING IN OUR LIVES, but it’s up to us to bring it ALL TO HIM!!!

Do you bring God all of your challenges?

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 2:7-8 – He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.