Happy Friday!

I treated myself to two extra hours of sleep this morning. I know…Out of character, huh? But what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t wake you up with a happygram for your Friday. And it is Friday.

As I was contemplating time with God today, I went to the book of James where we are told to ‘count it all joy’ and sometimes things we are called to do – and sometimes it feels like we are dragged to do – are not what we would choose. But there we are and it’s our life.  It’s hard to keep our faith alive while we get through the rough times.  But that’s what we need to do.  One thing we can do is ask God for wisdom and for discernment to make good decisions.  I love this passage in James 1:2-5 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

In our human nature, our need to think for ourselves and make our own decisions, it’s difficult to relinquish control. But the only way to have peace is to trust our unknown future to a known God.  Remember too what Philippians 4:9 says “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Ready for a great day? Ready to practice peace? Our mission field waits ….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPH4LRASWbo

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The Ultimate Outfit

Do you ever wake up in the morning and think “Ugh! What am I going to wear today?” I turn on the news and they have all the advice about what to wear “out at the bus stop” and how bundled up I need to be, but that’s the easy part.  I have a couple coats to choose from.  But what, oh what to wear?  I have a closet overflowing with clothes and let me tell you it’s a challenge for a brain before coffee to make the ultimate choice in outfitting myself for the day. This is why I make my first choice the night before – to avoid a battle between my mind and my body at 4:00 am.

Did you know there’s an even more important choice of what to put on for the day? One reason I choose what clothes to wear the night before is so I can focus on the attitude I will wear all day. Like Romans 13:12 where it talks about the night being over and the day arriving….”So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”  I think deeds of darkness includes a lot of actions that are less than honorable, even the attitude I have as I approach today and all the people I touch along the way. How thoughtful am I of others?  What is my attitude about the work I do or the commitments I’ve made?

I’m a believer of all the Bible teaches about being a Christian and follower of Christ.  Colossians 3:10 works for me.  “I have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” I love that every day I can renew myself by following what I’ve learned from my Creator.  And the best thing – when I enter this day, I can wear armor, not the heavy, confining physical armor, although sometimes I think that would be a good idea.  I mean the armor to put on everyday – before you meet that first person who cuts you off at the stop light or the one who verbally insults you.   Gear up, friends.  Try this first.  Ephesians 6:10-12 “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”  Life is a contact sport; be strong.  Life is tough, we have to be tougher.

What, oh what, to wear today? It’s cold here in Michigan.  I have corduroy pants, a turtleneck shirt and a knitted sweater to top it off.  I have thick socks and heavy shoes. When I go out the door, I’ll be wearing my faux fur coat with warm hood, and knitted gloves to keep my hands warm.  But in my heart, I will be praying that God will live through me and help me practice Ephesians 4:24 “Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Our mission field waits …. What will we wear today?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2qeQ8Z3CLg

It’s Warm Inside

OK everybody up! Rise and shine! Good Morning everyone!

It’s Wednesday …. the middle of the week – and boy it is COLD out there!  Here are some ways to warm up our day from the inside out.  Having an attitude of gratitude, practicing being thankful is a catalyst. It changes e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. It takes an act of the will be just be thankful, especially in those times (days, weeks, longer) that it seems like nothing favors you. Stuff happens, more goes wrong than goes right, our armor wears thin, and we wonder why do we have to count it all joy when we are as far from joy as we can get. Here’s the formula to make it happen. Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. We resist because we are too weary to dig down deep and find the tiniest flame of joy when it’s easier to just let the freight train run over us.

Stop! Just stop it! We can turn that tiny flame into a symphony of light with just a little practice.  Did you know you have an enemy of your soul and he wants to suck the joy right out of you? Remember Job from the Old Testament and all that he went through? In Job 33: 30 is says that God turned him back from the pit he was in so that the light of life could shine.  It had to be an attitude of his heart that allowed Job to continue.  Then in verse 31 God says to him again “Pay attention, Job, and listen to me; be silent, and I will speak.

Today, let’s have that heart attitude. Let’s not let anyone steal our joy.

The formula – it’s free and it’s easy. Find a pen and grab a piece of paper. In fact you might want a durable notebook because this could catch on – Ready? Think of one thing you are thankful for. Just one. Write it down. There. #1 – done! Now here’s the next step and the next and sometimes they are tough but do it anyway. Every time you think of something you’re thankful for – write it down. Use the same piece of paper. The writing tool doesn’t matter – but keep your list handy and as you think of something you’re thankful for, write it down.

There will be times when the list seems like unnecessary clutter – but keep it anyway. At times when fear, sadness, and doubt start their invasion – Stop! Just Stop it! Go get THE LIST and start reading. This is what changes the gloom back to joy. The enemy can’t coexist with joy – can’t do it. Choose joy. Today, I’m taking time to be thankful because that’s how a bad day is transformed into a good day.  I can’t wait for a good day to happen, it’s up to me to make it happen. So here goes. I’m stoking the furnace on joy. I am thankful God doesn’t have mood swings. He is the same – all day, every day. He listens to me complain, He hears me when I call, and he shines His light so I can find my way.

Good Morning, God – Good Morning World – Good Morning Sunshine  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnmWwudeqfM

 

 

 

Monday Manna

OK everybody up! Rise and shine! Up! Up! Up! Good Morning to You

I looked outside and guess what!?! There is white glitter all over the ground. I think I recognize it and I think I love it floating in the sky a lot more than I like it piling up on the ground. I could complain, but I won’t. When God created water he made certain properties of it to freeze up and fall to earth in the form of tiny pieces of frozen water. That’s your chemistry lesson for today, or maybe it’s physics. Either way we have snow and it really is very beautiful. Plus, it’s a reminder that the earth is the Lord’s. Psalm 24: 1,2  “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.”  See if you can relate that verse to this one in Numbers 14:21 that says “As truly as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.” OK so it’s a little out of context, but for those of us who have to go out and drive in it, there it is. A smile starter for this Monday.

So how did I end up in Numbers? It’s a rather obscure book and not all that popular.  As I’ve read it, I’ve been both intrigued by the story of how God provided for his children and convicted when learning about their attitude. It’s the story of the manna that God sent to them with the dew every evening so they could be nourished for the day ahead. They received just what they needed, when they needed it.  God didn’t send it early; he didn’t send it late and he didn’t send it in great abundance.  It was the early form of JIT -Just In Time provision.

When we pray and plead with God to change something, to give us what we desire, to bring us out of a pit, no matter what it is, we don’t understand why it’s taking so long. Have you ever looked up to heaven and reminded God that time is nothing to Him, but it’s everything to you?  I have. “Give me patience Lord, but hurry!”  In all that pleading though is faith, exercised faith, that God is providing, Just In Time, in the right amount, and according to his plan. It’s hard to wait, it’s harder to wait and still the answer is ‘no’.  That’s where faith is everything. It’s a moment to moment decision to trust our unknown future to a known God.  In these times, can we claim Isaiah 55:9? “As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Happy Monday – and remember God is thinking about you in ways you can’t imagine. Lay Down Your Burden – let God carry you.

Stop to be thankful

I’m looking for a turnaround day – starting now!  So all I have to say is WOW! I’ve got a to-done list as long as I am tall today.  I’ve already been at work on chiseling away at it – but what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t stop for a moment to say thank you for all your support, encouragement, and love this past week. Remember that “Blessed is the blogger who writes a short message, because readers will return again.”

I know there is a direct correlation between the attitude and character and that correlation connects us to the way we choose our friends. Don’t we want friends who stick by us, feed us positivity, and pull us up when we start to falter?  Of course we do!  I love what I read in Numbers 11 this morning.  This verse touched me …. I hope it touches you too. Numbers 11:17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

Even if our day starts off less than optimistic, there is hope.  We don’t have to carry our burdens alone.  We can turn this day around.  We have God and we have the gift of friends. Be blessed with unspeakable joy today!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ajgTun1F_A

What’s your wild ride of choice?

Let’s hear it for Friday. Louder! I can’t hear you …It has sure been a week, hasn’t it?  Do your weeks sometimes remind you of that college challenge to see how many grown people can fit into a telephone booth? Or maybe a Volkswagen Bug? I realize some of you might not even know what a phone booth is. I’m sure those who don’t are the one who will know how to Google it. Weeks are always busy, some of them more regimented and packed than others. I looked around at what I think is my house and remembered a phrase my dad used to describe my authentically teenager room….like an explosion in a mattress factory. If you can picture that, you would also know why I couldn’t let you in if you came to visit right now. And to this, I tell myself, the weekend is coming – and it’s just about here.  A few more hours and then – – –  I am praying that God gives me the desire of my heart. Psalm 139 tells me that He knows all about me, knows my thoughts, and understands what will bring calmness to my spirit. No matter what, God is there.

I was talking with God a couple days ago; nothing new there.  He’s used to me pestering him on a regular basis, but I had to ask him.  “Lord, I think you have me mixed up with someone else.  You see Lord, I’m not the girl who loves roller coasters.  I’m the one who thinks a wild ride is the merry-go-round.”  And to that, he answered with memory after memory of blessings in my life. In times when the roller coaster was at the top of the peak to the times when life went crashing to the bottom of the pit, he was there. Isaiah 48:17 This is what the Lord says “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.

I have to believe that because this is how we live real life.  We rise up, and we fall down.  What goes up, must go down. But the key is being able to ride the waves and not fall off.  Not lose our faith. In these days, aren’t you thankful that the valley lasts only a little while and we start the trek upward again. Jeremiah 3:15 offers this small glimmer of encouragement  “Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.”  I love that because it’s a hidden promise that we aren’t in the game alone.  We might have to find counselors and mentors, maybe a trusted pastor, to help us get back up the mountain. And sometimes we find leadership through the gift of solid friendships.

I’m not the roller coaster girl. My idea of life is the smooth ride of the merry-go-round.  You might have read about it in my blog “For $1 you can see the world”.  http://wp.me/p29Llt-3o

In all things – I know the truth of  Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord said “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”  On the roller coaster of life, it’s good to know the one whose love is everlasting is sitting right next to me, showing kindness – and teaching me to be more like him and to not lose faith.  He is Able.

 

No Grumbling + No Arguing=Shine

There is nothing that adds speed to my steps than oversleeping – guess what.  That’s me today.  Where does the time go? Even if a day drags by, once the sun goes down, I’m sure the minutes in an hour are compacted into much shorter units. But here I am – ready for the day, entering my mission field. That’s what it is, for me – and for you.  It might sound funny – but think about it. When we know we have a purpose and we’re on a mission to fulfill it. Well there it is. Our mission field is all that is before us this day, this evening and all our tomorrows.

Since my time is limited this morning I turned to my favorite book in the Bible, Philippians for my time with God and look what my eyes fell on.  Philippians 2:14-16“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.”

Did you notice how it says to not grumble or argue? OK that was the first thing, so it gets noticed right away.  But wait!  There’s more.  Why is it that I shouldn’t complain and cause little earthquakes in the contacts I have with others all day long?  Look at the middle of those verses. “…so I am pure … and I will shine … if I hold firmly to the word of life.”

It will work for you too.  I promise. Even better God promises. Now I’m not sure you will feel the enthusiasm of how Isaiah describes but we can go for a close second.  Isaiah 55:12 (The Message) “So you’ll go out in joy, you’ll be led into a whole and complete life. The mountains and hills will lead the parade, bursting with song. All the trees of the forest will join the procession, exuberant with applause. No more thistles, but giant sequoias, no more thorn bushes, but stately pines—Monuments to me, to God, living and lasting evidence of God.”

How about you?  No matter how our day begins or what happens along the way – can we do everything without complaining, without arguing (even with ourselves) and be the shine in life? Go out in joy – so our day ends well.

This song is for Katelyn.  She wanted me to sing it last night.  AH – not happening, but I found it on YouTube.  These are the days Elijah —- see if this doesn’’t make you want to sing your way through the whole day starting right about ….. Now!  I’ll see you out there.