Life’s Not a Fantasy.


Fall and football … the games, the cheerleaders, the bands.  I grew up with them, I participated in them and I raised children in them.  Now I live in fantasy … Fantasy Football that is.  Yes, you read that right.  I am in a fantasy football league with my daughters, SIL’s and one of their parents.   I have scored the most points so why am I NOT leading the league?  Because I have also had the most points scored against me.  In other words, on any given game, my opponent has an all time high game.  Actually, I have won the last two weeks … so I am no longer on the bottom rung … I’m climbing.Goal

Life can be like that … on any given day you have everything go wrong.  Everyone around you is having a great day.  However, you may have the garage door break, your AC or heater breaks, the car  breaks down, the stove starts acting up, the house needs paint, or you are running low on food, gas, sanity.  I have friends in all those game plays.  As a Christian you cannot sit on the bench with your head in your hands (unless you’re praying :-D) or run to the locker room.  You have to stay in the game.

Likewise, you are not going to win simply because you stand under the goalpost and wait for the game winning ball.  You have to go to the bench between innings for words from the Coach.  Often you will have to go between every play if you haven’t listened to the Coach and know what to do.  Going to the bench for instructions is always for the best.  “Take a knee” and listen.

Also, while you are in the game, you have to huddle with your fellow players.  You need their support.  (Go to church and Sunday School, Bible Studies, and Life Groups).  You should not play the game by yourself.  The crowd will overwhelm you with their shouts and confuse you.  Tune them out.  Listen only to your Coach and team mates.

Stay in the game.  Keep tuned in to the “Coach”, the “Play Maker”.   At the end of the game of life … regardless of penalties, injuries and bad calls, you have won the prize, you have won the game.

Isaiah 40:28-31 NASB  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.  His understanding is inscrutable.  29 He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. 30 Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, 31 Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

Stinkin-in and rotten-in!


As toddlers our girls were spoiled rotten (yeah, I know, they still are).   But, we would tell them they were rotten to the core; stinking and rotting.   Now, when they would tell it back to us it sounded more like … stinkin-in and rottin-in.   Their dad still tells them they are rotten in the toddler terms.

Truthfully, things that are rotting are usually stinking and it is anything but cute.   stinkWhen something stinks, it usually has sat around awhile, soured and rotted.  Unfortunately, many Christians become rotten from sitting around and souring.  They get upset, get discouraged and get down.  Instead of going to their knees, seeking fellowship and prayer partners, they just sit and stew … and stew … and then they sour and after a while they just SMELL.  You would think they would get the message when people start avoiding them.  You can not stand to be around them.  They are sour on the world.  Nothing is going right for them; nothing is going their way.  As the saying goes, “misery loves company” and they want you to be miserable with them.  You just want them to get “washed in the blood” all over again.  All you can do is bathe them in prayer.

2 Corinthians 2:14-15(HCSB) 14 But thanks be to God, who always puts us on displayin Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.15 For to God we are the fragranceof Christ among those who are being saved  and among those who are perishing.”

Hopefully, you are not the one stinkin’.  Each day you make a choice.  You get up and you choose your attitude.    In Matthew 5:3-11 you will find the Beatitudes:

BEatitudes = Attitudes To Be (a previous blog)

 

If you are going to “smell” … smell sweet!

 

Where’s Your Baggage?


Over the summer when I went to pick up my hubby at the airport, I arranged to meet him in baggage claim.   I love to watch people and baggage claim can be quite entertaining.  Baggage claim … oh the stories I could tell.  This trip got me thinking and taking notes for a future blog.

There are SO many bags: baggage claim

  All shapes

  All sizes

  All weights

Some are:

    Worn

    Ugly

    Damaged

    Lost

So I took my notes and tucked them away.  Then, recently,  when our son-in-law returned overseas, one of the bags he was carrying was lost.   According to the airlines, it  never left the airport here.  Weeks have gone by and still they have not found the bag.  The theory is, the tag got torn off on the belt going down from the ticketing area to the sorting area for planes.   Wouldn’t it have been thoughtful for the airport employee to have marked that bag with date, time and belt?  Might have helped … maybe not.  It is still missing weeks later.

So, when our daughter and granddaughters followed weeks later with their baggage, I decided to treat them like I do packages here in the states.  I typed up a LARGE piece of paper stating:  “LUGGAGE DESTINATION” and we laid it on top before closing each bag.  We don’t know if that worked because none got lost.   But, it would be nice to think it would.

Unlike our traveling baggage, we often want to carry our ‘life’s baggage” around daily.    Piling it on day after day until somehow we cannot function at all.    All the regrets, the what ifs, and only ifs … they load us down.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the “baggage tag” were just torn off and lost?   That just doesn’t happen in real life.  It seems to be indelibly marked with our name.  Sometimes we set the “baggage down” but, hold on to the tickets and go back and pick them up later.   We never learn.  The only tag on our baggage, inside and out, should read:  “Return to Jesus”.

Give HIM your tickets and let HIM carry your baggage.

Psalm 55:22 ( NASB) Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

Matthew 11:28 (NLT) “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

ShockLESS!


If you go to the beach (or watch an awards show) you should be shocked.  I do not just get shocked but disgusted.   shock1Bikinis and thongs do not belong on anyone much less expectant women.

What does it take to shock you?  What bothers your sensitivities?  What makes you stand up and speak for the Lord?  Sadly, most Christians now are taking the low road … don’t want to be confrontational.  Well, today I’m being confrontational.  Getting up on my soapbox as it were.   Many will cry out over the Right to Life, but we do not want the microscope on the real issue … Christians.  That’s right.  Men and women who sit back and do not want to say anything until it’s a full-blown issue.

Let’s take the microscope to the heart of the matter.  That would be the Christian heart, where we allowed satan’s* big toe in to worm in his big foot and then take over.  Former generations called it “winking at sin”.   So how  did we get so far away from valuing life?

Look back to the Old Testament.  The command was issued because there were those that sacrificed their first-born to the idol in hopes of future prosperity.

Leviticus 18:21(NASB) You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the Lord.”

Barbaric right? But, wait … is that not what modern women do?  Put off by abortion a child for the sake of a better career, further education, travel, money considerations, or just plain inconvenient? Is that any less sacrificing of a life to an “idol”.  How, did we get so far in modern times to viewing life so meaningless.   Christians.  We allowed it, we took on the world’s views and devalued life ourselves.  We did not walk worthy of our high calling and set the bar high, a light in the world.

Ephesians 4:1b-2a “…walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness,”

Okay here comes the part you are not going to like.  If you are walking in a manner worthy of your high calling, in humility and gentleness, then you are treating life and motherhood with the utmost reverence and respect.  The world is not going to respect life if we do not by our actions and words … our lingo should not be the world’s and our dress should not be the world’s.

LET ME SPELL IT OUT FOR YOU:

  • Motherhood is a gift from God … a M I R A C L E.  That’ is why it is called the miracle of  LIFE!
  • That miracle is a BABY, A MIRACLE, not a “peanut on an ultrasound” a “bump” in a picture.
  • Motherhood is NOT about YOU.  It is about the precious LIFE God is giving you as a gift for you to be the STEWARD of, not shame.
  • Baby bump pictures, exposed belly’s are NOT “with all humility and gentleness”, not to mention modesty.
  • Help the expectant mothers you know in taking the stand to be Christlike and not world like as they prepare to care for their Gift from God.
  • Let the world see Christians treating motherhood and life with awe and respect as God intended instead of “trendy”.

Proverbs 31: 10  Who  can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.”

vir·tu·ous  adj 1. Having or showing virtue, especially moral excellence: led a virtuous life.2. Possessing or characterized by chastity; pure: a virtuous woman. See Synonyms at moral.

Will you stand in Christ, or follow the world to be “cool and trendy”.  Will you write this blog off as an old woman out of touch with the now and today?  Or, will you seek Him in how you can be a light to someone about Life through respect of His creation and miracles?

*satan, devil – I know people capitalize the “S” or “D” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.

“I wanna be like you?”


I wrote a comedy reflection piece a while back (Walks Like A Duck) but, this past week I was listening to someone talk about their relative that didn’t believe in God.  They thought all the Christians were phony.  As she talked it occurred to me that maybe the person had not come across a real CHRISTian, someone who was CHRIST like. th

Many will only know what they see on TV or in the news.  Unfortunately, many “Christian” TV programs are not what they should be.  Not everyone behind a pulpit is a true minister of God.  Sadly for some it’s a big show to make money.

Matthew 7:21-23 (NASB)  21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

And many church goers are not Christians. They have religion, not faith.  And sadly, some Christians stopped at salvation and did not pursue Christ likeness.

Philippians 2:1-8 (NASB)1Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Some people will never walk into a church or watch a good Christian TV program.  For some people the only “CHRIST” they will see will be you.

If an atheist said, “I don’t believe in God and all that Christian stuff. But, if I WAS going to be a Christian, I’d want to be like …”   Would they think of you?

Why Does God Whisper?


I have written about quiet before (Shhhhh), there is nothing like quiet.  Do you ever stop and listen to a breeze? Common Dandelion; Seed head; Taraxacum officinale; macro; close up;I am a very outgoing type personality, so when I get quiet people think I am sick.  When I am quiet, I am listening.

My husband and I relish in our time together when we are “quiet”.  One time my daughter asked me if we were okay.  I asked her what she meant.  She said, “you and dad go to the beach together and he fishes or reads and you shell, but you never talk.”  We talk.  We just do it without words.  Sometimes, we sit and read for hours, or we go to the beach and he fishes and I shell.  I always look up and watch him reel in his fish.  He looks out to watch me shell.  If I get out of sight for too long he comes looking to check on me.  We communicate without words, a lot.  We have been married for 36+ years and we dated almost seven.  We knew each other four years before that.  Through the years we have grown close enough to not always need to “talk”.  But, we talk, we communicate.  We do not have to shout to each other, or constantly talk out loud.  With some relationships, quiet IS conversation.

Our walk with the Lord is like that.  God doesn’t yell to us or shout from Heaven.  Most of what He tells us is in a whisper.  Why?    There’s a story of an old preacher who is visited by a young man in trouble.  He tells the preacher he has prayed and prayed and God has not answered.  The old preacher says something.  But, the young man could not hear him, so he moved closer, “what did you say?”  The preacher repeats it, and again the young man moves closer, “What?  I cannot hear you.”  One more time the old preacher repeats himself and the young man walks right up to him and asks him to repeat again.   “God sometimes whispers,” he said, “so we will move closer to hear Him.”

My best conversations with GOD are when I say nothing at all.

1 Kings 19:11-13 (HCSB) 11 Then He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lord’s presence.”At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind  was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Suddenly, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

James 1:19 (NASB) This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak…”

(Other Posts on Quiet: Pick-a-little, Talk-a-little  O be careful little mouth what you say… )

How’s Your Fish Bowl?


Children love fairs and carnivals.  The atmosphere is ecstatic.  It draws their attention and draws them in like flies.  The game area was always an area to be avoided with my mom, she viewed them as scams, hard to win.  I always wanted to play.  So when my daughter at age five wanted to toss the coin and win the little goldfish I let her play.  A few coins later she had her goldfish.   We set it up in her bedroom on the dresser.  I cautioned her to be careful and not knock it over.  She was so proud of her fish.  She finally calmed down and I turned off the light for the night.

I always awoke way before everyone and  peaked in early to check on my daughter.  There on the dresser sat the bowl and the goldfish was belly up and floating.  Arrghh, now I had to deal with a dead fish?  What would I tell her?  I hurriedly dressed and ran down to the 24 hour WalMart, bought a fish and returned fast enough to replace before she awoke.  “Whew, escaped that one I thought”, patting myself on the back.   Off to school she went.  That night we went through the same bedtime routine and finally she told the fish goodnight and we settled in for the night.  Next morning, as usual I stuck my head in and THERE WAS THE GOLDFISH, BELLY UP AND FLOATING.  “Oh, no, really?”  Once again, being the coward I was then, I hurriedly rush to WalMart and returned with yet another goldfish.  Whew.  Got by again.  This was crazy.  The fish was okay all day.  Looked like things were going to be okay.  Off to bed.  mac28_deadgoldfish01_wideEarly the next morning I hear this loud cry, “MY GOLDFISH!”.  I jumped out of bed, dazed that someone awoke before me.  Running across the hall into her room there stood my daughter in front of the bowl, staring at the goldfish belly up and floating.  I hugged my little girl and tried to comfort her.  What I had dreaded I finally had to face.  After all the shielding I had tried, I still had to face the inevitable. I tried to explain how everything dies.  But, for a small child death is always hard to understand.  With tears streaming down her face she looked up to me with the saddest confused eyes and said, “mommy I don’t understand why he had to die.  I loved him so much.  Every night I took him out and told him so as I petted him.”

We laugh about it now.  But, isn’t that the way we all are?  We put our life in a glass bowl and we love it with tender loving care.  We want it all perfect and comfortable. We pet it and even sometimes smother it … causing what we love the most to die.  There are those around us that will even try to fix all our problems like I tried with my daughter.

Life, it has ups and downs; good times and bad times.  God wants to teach us, sometimes in the good times and other times in the bad.  Everything is a lesson that will make us more like Him. When you become a Christian you change.

2 Corinthians 5:1(NLT) 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

To change you have to learn about Him.  You have to go through things in life to grow physically and you must go through things to change spiritually.  Do not avoid these times, do not try to “pad and protect” yourself from the lessons.  Do not whine and ask “why?”, ask “why am I here in this place Lord, what do you want me to learn?”

Psalm 25:4-5(HCSB) Make Your ways known to me, Lord; teach me Your paths.Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation;I wait for You all day long.”

Psalm 86:11(ESV)11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,that I may walk in Your truth;unite my heart to fear Your name.”

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

Instead of avoiding look to Him and say, “here am I Lord, teach me.”