Tuesday, January 31, 2006
My niece wrote a comment on my post "The Lord Knows What I Need" that really struck a chord with me. So much so that I copied, printed and put it into the bible that I read every day. I was so worried about controlling my sharp tongue and I thought I was doing it--white knuckle effort on my part, I might say. But when my husband told me that I had been bitchy last week, I saw that thru my own efforts, I am unable to have Self Control. I asked the Lord to help me guard my speech and control my emotions. He gave me what I needed but in a different way than I expected. It came from someone who is 30 years my junior! As Diana wrote to me to notice that Self Control, as a fruit of the Spirit, was last on the list. She said that what is in our heart fires what comes out of our mouth.
It was revealed to me that what was in my heart was not right when it came to my husband(or others, for that matter). I see that pride and self-righteousness still reside in my heart. I wrote on Veronica's blog about televangelists who become impressed with themselves and are humbled by the Lord. Today, I see that I was holding on to a belief that I am better than other people (particularly my spouse) because I am a Christian and I am saved. Most of my life, I have held a high opinion of myself, which got me a long way in my career. Over the last several years, after I was laid off from my job in management, I became bitter. I held resentment in my heart, while smiling on the outside. I hardened my heart to protect it from disappointment as I took a less prestigious job. Bitterness and resentment, two thorns in my heart, festered and were hardening my heart a little more every day. I see how the Lord has been mightly working in my life with the blogs I read and this one that I write.
Just when I think I know everything there is to know about myself, the Lord shows me the deeper layers. He is freeing me from the bonds that I have put on my heart. I am excited to see what the future holds as I take Jesus' hand and walk closer with Him. I am meditating each morning on the fruits of the Spirit and praying for the Lord to remove the thorns from my heart.
Lord, Jesus I give you praise and all the glory for the changes that are happening in my life. Take this old heart like stone and soften it up. Humble me, break me, mold me into a person who lives to do Your will.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
This has always been a problem for me. Whether it's my pride or just wanting to be in control, I have such a problem with just taking things as they come. I have the illusion that I can control a situation. I say illusion because intellectually, I know that no one is really in control of people, places or things. I usually react to a disappointing or unexpected situation with frustration and anger which is obvious in my voice and words. I want to take it easy but I take it hard. When I was talking to Diana the other day, she reminded me that "if it's difficult, you aren't trusting the Lord".
Each day, I pray to Jesus to guide my thoughts and actions so that I will trust in Him and rely on His Strength to acheive my new goals. I have to report that I felt I had some measure of success last week. Yet, my husband said to me on Friday, "You were sure bitchy this last week." I was shocked and humbled. I felt I had held my tongue, moderated my voice to a kinder tone. I prayed a quick prayer so that I could accept his criticism without defending myself and also without getting insulted or angry.
Don't want to be stuck any more! Lord, I pray today to be bendable to Your Will. Mold me & shape me into the best I can be. I pray to stay open to Your changes in me.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Yes, He does. Incredible how things turn out. After asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I began with my NIV women's devotional bible to study, beginning in Genesis. The second day, the devotional reading was by Gladys M. Hunt. At the bottom, it lists additional scripture readings. It showed James 1:13-15. By the time I turned to James, I had remembered the starting verse as 19 instead of 15.......so I read:
"Everyone shoud be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" I continued on to verse 26: "If anyone considers themselves religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on their tongue, they deceive themselves and their religion is worthless."
In a previous post, I had written how my tongue had gotten me into trouble. I have a very sharp tongue and can be downright hurtful, rude and nasty to the people I love. This was something that the Lord laid on my heart and I had begun to pray for. I wanted to be able to speak kindly to my Spouse and Mother, no matter how frustrated I got. It's one thing to admit that I am just like my Dad--my manner of speaking can cut like a knife, and hurt loved ones. I have always used the excuse (in my mind) that I am truthful and that I have the right to state my opinion. In fact, I have come to see that I have escalated from being opinionated to being hurtful. I argued with everything my spouse had to say. I realized after confessing this sin, that it had become a bad habit. I saw that I had become the opposite of what James is writing about. I was angry, frustrated and depressed. I was unable to get control over my emotions and would spew them out at any given moment. It caused bad feelings (even though I would apologize as soon as possible) between my spouse and I. The depression came from the anger turned inward because I was unable to control myself.
I started praying before reading the Word for insight. Each morning now, I read these verses and want to memorize them. With the help of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, I have been able to stop comments from coming out. Slow to speak! When I pause and consider the comment I was about to make, I can see if it is argumentative or inappropriate. The first time I held a comment back, I started to cry from the effort of holding back and as my hubby tried to ask me why I was crying, I only cried more! I realized that I was trying to do it with my own power--the effort seemed overwhelming. With more prayer, the strength of the Lord lifted me up and the next two times I was able to keep silent.
Lord Jesus, my prayer today is that the Holy Spirit who dwells within me, guards my tongue. If I keep my eyes on you, Lord and rely on your strength to control my emotions, I can speak kindly and with love to everyone. All Praise to you Jesus!
Monday, January 23, 2006
PSALM 29 V 1-4
Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic.
As David watched a storm with lightning and thunder, probably over the Mediterranean Sea, he was inspired to write this psalm. Everyday I can find something in nature to marvel at the glory and wonder of God. Before we moved to the desert, I thought of it as a barren place of one color. I have found
I used to long for the green of Oregon and Washington's coastal areas, saying that's where I always would want to live. My husband longed for the warmth and sunshine of the desert. Throughout our whole marriage, I refused to move to the desert. Then...........I got older and all the aches, pains and arthritis came to visit and then live permanently in my body. Living on the coast of California on dry, sunny days, I was fine. But when that "June Gloom" (which sometimes lasted from January to August) set in or when it was raining or foggy, I was in pain. I began to understand why all the "old" people moved to the desert. I knew why there were "snowbirds" who fled to Quartzite, AZ during the winter months. BTW, we do get rain--it's called the monsoon season, which lasts about 6 weeks or so in Sept/Oct. They are some incredible, powerful storms that are amazing to watch from the safety of our home.
I've lived here for 8 months and I love it. I wouldn't live in any other climate. I marvel at the colors of my surroundings and the ability of plants and animals to adapt to the extremes of climate. Last night, it was 27 degrees, today, it will be 70 degrees. The weatherman in Phoenix has commented on how much our area needs rain. We've gone without rain for 95 days. Rain? Phooey! Hey, this is the desert! There is beauty all around. The majestic saguaro cactus, the blooming Palo Verde covered with yellow blossoms, even the greasewood bushes with their tiny, greasy green leaves are beautiful. There are the incredible desert foxes with their gigantic ears, the stealthy coyote who keeps the vermin population to a reasonable number. The cute kangaroo rats(they look like off-white gerbils with a fluff on the end of their long tails). Snakes, you ask? The only one I have ever seen was a red racer(non-venomous) in the road near our house. There are supposed to be a couple types of scorpions, but we have only seen one (non-venomous) when we lifted up our wood step.
God is good to me. He knew what I needed before I knew what I needed. He knew that I would come to love the clear, sunny, dry days. I am one of those people who respond to daylight. I love the long days of spring and summer. All my life, I have dreaded, what I call the long descent into darkness--the short days of winter. A walk out in the sunshine can pep up my day. It uplifts my spirits immensely. I praise the Lord each day for giving me all that I have to be thankful for. Thank you Jesus, my shepherd, for guidance.
Friday, January 20, 2006
It's a new TV show. I read about it in Time magazine under the title, "Prime Time Religion" Here's the synopsis: "WHEN THINGS GET TOUGH, MANY Christians ask themselves, What would Jesus do? The Rev. Daniel Webster goes straight to the source: the dude with the beard, flowing hair and robe who rides shotgun in his car. "Let it play out," comes the answer from the Son of God. Then he adds, ''You're tailgating'. Daniel (Aidan Quinn), an Episcopal priest in an affluent New York City suburb, has a lot to talk about. His son Jimmy has died of leukemia; son Peter (Christian Campbell) is gay; adopted son Adam (Ivan Shaw) is bedding the teenage daughter of an influential parishioner. Daniel's daughter Grace (Alison Pill) was busted for dealing pot. His mother has Alzheimer's. His boss the bishop (Ellen Burstyn) has been riding him. His brother-in-law has disappeared with $3 million of church money. To take the edge off, Daniel has been turning not only to Jesus (Garret Dillahunt) but also to a stash of Vicodin pills. Father knows best? More like Father has a little helper. Its content-did I forget to mention his sister-in-law's lesbian affair? his wife's martini habit? the adulterous bishops?-has already drawn the ire of the American Family Association (AFA), a conservative cultural watchdog group, which charged that the show "mocks Christianity."
I put up with "Highway To Heaven" and "Touched By an Angel" by never watching. I'm sure that"7th Heaven" must make real pastors cringe. The God who spoke to "Joan of Arcadia" was so non-denominational, it made Him seem ineffectual. Now they are actually portraying Jesus and putting scripted words into Our Lord's mouth! I haven't actually seen the show, but I am incensed that anyone would dare do that. This is a comedy, so they'll be going for laughs! And, yes, we Christians did have "The Passion of the Christ" and sort of with "The Chronicles of Narnia"(an allegory--nothing directly about Jesus). But they've hit us with the "Da Vinci Code", a novel, soon to be a movie, with Tom Hanks. And Ann Rice, popular writer of Vampire and Witch novels, has now written a novel about Jesus' early years.
I believe the tv show, The Book of Daniel was inspired by Satan. Satan is doing anything these days to pull us away from our Lord. This is the "new" deception. This is insidious and sneaky. I am so enraged by this television show that will reach millions. It's a wolf in sheep's clothing. There are also many "documentaries" these days that are trying to deceive the masses into believing that Jesus is not God, that the Bible is just stories or that God is a mere figment of our imaginations.
Lord help me to keep my eyes on You. Let me kneel at your feet and worship you. You chose me and I choose You. I am your child--let me fill my mind with Your Word instead of what the world presents thru the media.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
This is from a small book entitled "Spiritual Warfare" by Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, CA. In the 70's this is the place that was first a little chapel, then a big tent and finally a large church. It was in the little chapel, that I first accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
I came home from California with a cold/sore throat, probably from staying up too late and getting up too early both on Friday and Saturday nights. This is the view from my mom's front door at sunset. It was so beautiful.
Thank you, Father for giving me this sunset.
The weekend was fun. After I took this pic, my son and I went to see King Kong. I love big epics and always would like to see them on the big screen. At the price of a movie today, I reserve my moviegoing to seeing only the movies which would not translate well to DVD/TV viewing. King Kong was one of those, for sure. I really liked it.
We got up early and headed to Orange County to visit friends and go to the Super Street awards banquet. Had a really nice day and an excellent time at the banquet. Got to see some people I hadn't seen for a long time.
My head is all stuffed up and it's affecting my brain. I can't seem to think clearly. I had ideas of writing something about a new television show about a pastor who sees Jesus, but will reserve that for another day. Pray for me, please that this isn't the influenza that is taking down 50% of the people in the Phoenix area. I was unable to get a flu shot as I am not over 65 or a high risk patient. Better stop writing for now, as I am rambling......
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Today, I see that being unemployed since June has changed me. I never realized that so much of my identity was tied to what I do, not who I am. My self-discipline was tied to my job, so I haven't been using my time well. I have become lazy both in thought and deed. I have become fearful. For example, I needed a new handle for my La Z Boy chair, because the old one broke. I looked on their website and it directed me to find any store, take the broken handle in and I would be given a new one free of charge. When we arrived at the store, I began to experience the dreaded, “what ifs”. What if they won’t exchange it, what if they say I need my sales slip (which I no longer have), what do I do then? Of course when I went in, they said they’d be happy to replace it!
I am once again, fearful of going to an interview for a job. I admit that today, aware that I could have applied for a job that was close to where I am moving and had benefits too. Monday and Tuesday I chickened out on going in to that office by telling myself that the job must have already been taken. I say to myself, “They won’t like you because you are too old and overweight.” Any excuse to get out of putting myself out there. This fear on an intellectual level, seems so silly. They will either like me or they won’t. I have the qualifications and would be an asset to their company. I need to put on the armor of God and chase fear out of my life!
I need to discipline myself each day and consciously put on the whole armor of God as Paul says in Ephesians 6:10-18. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and 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 rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when that day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm, then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With all this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
I should look at the teddy bear that my dear Diana and Joseph gave me for Christmas. He is bedecked in the full armor. I think I will move him to my bedside table so that I can see him each morning when I wake up.
Lord, Jesus, give me the grace to accept your perfect love which casts out all fear and to put on the armor of God so that I may take hold of my life on earth as a good steward of the gifts you have given me.
Monday, January 09, 2006
Now what? That's how I feel sometimes, like I'm chasing my tail. I learn life lessons and really feel like I have accomplished something. I can rest on my laurels. Why do I forget that life is journey, not a goal.
In all my running around, in all my crowded life, as I try to find more things and more activities that will make God pleased with me, Micah 6:8 creeps in and defuses my noble but mistaken intentions. Look at the verse, what do you think I could bring before the Lord of the universe? What could I possibly do to impress Him? What could be the teaching and heritage that I could leave behind with all the people I come in contact with? Looking at me what would be their impression of how God means us to walk through this world? This is the beauty of the passage:
"What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
Everyone knows what justice is. Every toddler know how to love kindness and mercy. And children also are good at walking humbly with God. Maybe it's because they haven't done anything "Great" for God yet. Or maybe in their young lives they haven't done anything so bad that they feel the need to make up for it. Whatever the reason children have the wonderful ability to accept the gifts of God at face value without arrogance or embarrassment.
As we mature to adults, we do struggle with it. Pride in our accomplishments in this world moves in. We become the sum total of our ability to acheive. The world rewards us for a "job well done". It feels good to receive accolades and soon that becomes our goal. Pretty soon we are chasing our tail and there's not enough time or energy to reserve for prayer time, reading the Bible or going to church. Then we stop and wonder why life seems so empty. There's never enough time. Depression sets in. We are burned out. We get sick. Type "A" behavior to the extreme that I take it never works--it sets up a vicious cycle.
If I walk humbly with Jesus, my shepherd and let Him do the leading, I can accept His goodness, His tender grace and His unfailing mercy, I can turn to others in love and mercy and be just. I can encourage others to do the same.
Dear Jesus, your mercies are new every morning. I want to accept your Love and Grace so that I can pass them on.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Here’s one: “Fears drain us of primal energy and they certainly distract us from work and personal relationships. I believe that fear has become a bad habit for most of us. Maybe it is a side-effect of our techno-efficient world. In other words, maybe we have too much time on our hands and too much exposure to violence both in the news and melodramas”.
The reason this rang a big bell when I read it, is that my husband and I are addicted to detective shows, both the non-fiction and fictional. With satellite tv, we have an unbelievable amount of those shows that we can watch. In addition, we watch the news which originates from Phoenix. At first, I was appalled by the amount of violence that goes on in that city. My spouse said, “No there’s not more violence than Southern California, it’s just that the Phoenix newcasters report more violence.” Maybe that’s true, but sometimes the news is so violent, I ask him to change the channel.
I am a type “A” personality. For instance, when I was working, I always worked long hours, took on additional projects and was high rev all the time. I was told years ago by a doctor, that I am an adrenaline junkie. Anything that I do, I do at full speed, whether it’s housework, crafts, and yes, actually driving. I am working on the driving part! Now I set the cruise control at 5 mph under the speed limit.
I am just now realizing that part of my fears are the bad habit that Thom Rutledge wrote about. Since I am currently unemployed, I stimulate myself by watching all the horrific things that go on in our world that are reported on the news. I watch detective shows about murders and all sorts of mayhem. I watch “police case file” shows about real events. I have increased my coffee intake by double. It takes more and more cups of coffee to give me that “buzz” I like to feel at the start of my day.
Wow, has the Lord blessed me with insight! This is definitely something to work on. I am going to take a prayer-walk and consider these new revelations.
Lord, bless my prayers and walk today. I give you all the glory and honor for the insight I had today.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
I’m starting to get back to normal. Normal for me is motivated, proactive and positive. I was having a freak-out (due to fear) because my husband was having tooth surgery on Friday and was going to be under anesthesia. This is what I learned about myself from this incident: I say out loud and in my heart that I trust the Lord. That Jesus rules in my life. In reality, as exposed by my feeling about the trip to the oral surgeon, I cannot let go of my fear. It exhibits itself in many ways. I become nervous, excitable (not in a good way), clinging, weepy and bitchy. I had this undercurrent of fear about what could happen to him while he was under anesthesia. He could die, since he has breathing problems and there’s always a risk, even for a healthy person. I don’t want him to die as an unbeliever. But do I set a good example by resting assured in the Lord? No, I worry and fret.
All my life, I’ve been a worrier. I can talk a good story about how worry cannot change anything. Cast my cares upon Jesus. I say that I trust in the Lord to take care of my life. But then comes the time to walk the walk--I stumble and fall down into the abyss of fear. Fear creeps in, truly, before I realize it and I start “acting out”. I argue with my spouse and then cry. I get angry and upset for no reason at all. I yell, I curse and then turn that anger inward and suffer depression. Everything looks black. There’s no reason to go on. Despair hits—I am hopeless. I finally pull my head out of the muck long enough to see my situation and pray for help. The Lord listens to my prayers and at that point, I throw my worries and cares upon Him.
Why do I have to go through all that before I let go? Is it stubbornness, habit or pride? Must I always struggle? Do I secretly enjoy the struggle? As Dr. Phil says, “You have to identify the payoffs and use them as motivators. For instance, how many people do you know who are stuck in a job they don't like or have simply outgrown? They want out but... What keeps them there? Simple. They are stuck in a comfort zone, and the payoff is that they don't have to worry about the risks of change. You have to create your own motivation, and it has to be strong enough to leave your comfort zone and make the changes you need.“
How are fear and worry my comfort zone? It’s what I know. It’s how I have always coped with life. I fall easily back into old coping mechanisms whenever I don’t use proactive behaviors and practice my faith. I get lazy just for one day and then it’s 2 days and then it’s a week. It’s just like exercising: If you don’t use it, you lose it. So as I finish this post, I am going to don my walking clothes and head out for the mailbox. As I walk, I will pray.
Lord, Your love casts out all fear; let me be willing to accept Your perfect love today.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Monday, January 02, 2006
He shows the results of our choices. The solid people attempt to explain the grace of God to the phantoms. The phantoms choose unwisely based on selfish motives, to take their own road and expect Heaven to accept them anyway. We see humorously, the sillines of having it our own way. As Mr. Lewis contrasts the folly of man to the grace of God, we can see the more common things that keep us apart from God's love. He illustrates something that every lost soul prefers to Joy--having their own way and determining their own fate. Our Lord honors the choices of individuals.
I would recommend this book to those intelligent people with objections to the Christian faith due to a subjective moral position. Those who reject Christianity because they think it is too rigid are the most likely to get a lot out of the book. For those who are philosophical and good thinkers this book will stimulate their imagination in many ways. It will challenge their presuppositions. It will give them a good understanding of the Christian position in a non threatening way.
We make choices every day, every moment. Lord, Jesus, let me choose You.