No thank you <3

Russ was telling me about an awkward moment recently when he plugged his phone into the car charger and some kind of awful song popped up on his radio screen. He had people from work in the car and he apologized and got rid of it.

We checked his phone and there was some album that had been downloaded to it..sure enough it was downloaded on mine too.

I googled it and found out that Apple had generously and unknowingly downloaded this to a random and rather large group of people who own iPhones.

We deleted them.

This weekend we had Russ’s sweet brother in our car…poor guy went to charge his phone and we were all treated to a revisit to this awkward moment.

He will delete it.

The world will always be more than happy to share free garbage with us.

Can we just politely say…

No thank you…

and delete it?

We do not have to accept everything that is being handed to us as a “free gift”.

Let’s use some of that wisdom and discernment that we were blessed with when we received Christ as our Mediator and start turning down the offers that would lead us away from Him <3

Be blessed today.

Follow your Shepherd.

Listen for His voice above the noise.

 

Nothing fancy or profound or even controversial…just a little love to end the week <3

There is big stuff going on here in the U. S. of A. today…big stuff all around the world.

So just for a few minutes here on the journey, let me share a little bit of sweetness to lighten your heart…I hope…and make you smile and think of something tender before you head out there into the crazy.

Because yesterday I spent the day with this crew…

and while we snacked and played and waited for mommy to get home on a rainy day, Lola suggested we cut out hearts and make Valentines.

They were not convinced I could manufacture a heart with pen and paper, but sure enough I worked my magic and soon we had hearts and Valentines were happening.

Graham started drawing his own and as he worked…

he whispered….

I want to make a Valentine for everyone in the whole world.

And when your grandson says THAT …

you just gulp back some tears and say…

Great idea, baby…. go for it <3

It may take him a bit longer than he thinks and he also will most likely run out of steam before he gets everybody’s finished…

but hey, isn’t it the thought that counts?

So just remember whatever goes down in your world today, yesterday a little fellow armed with a marker, a pair of scissors and a God-shaped heart was thinking he would like to send you a Valentine.

Have a blessed weekend.

You are loved

 

A time for all things under the sun <3

It is hard for me to believe that we are already past the mid point of January.

I must say it was refreshing to not have a lot of Christmas trim to put away…two tiny trees that used to go on children’s dressers were strategically placed as we moved in. So I was able to tote those little guys downstairs in one trip and Voila! Christmas 2016 was cleaned up in short order.

But there is plenty to do, trust me, as we unpack the gazillion boxes tucked in every nook and cranny of our new home.

As I finish a box, I break it down and set it by the garage door. Packing papers are also tucked in an extra box and all of it is carted to the dumpster at work one load at a time.

I marvel how a couple of months ago I was bringing these same boxes home. Each one a coveted prize to add to our collection in the garage as we packed up all of our possessions in preparation for the move.

I asked people to save boxes and any materials useful for padding and was thrilled when friends and family unloaded these into my trunk at various meet ups.

But now they are just so much trash.

We don’t need them and it is a great relief to haul them back to the alley behind the store and deposit a trunk load of empties each week.

Life is like that, isn’t it?

Things that are useful and important in one season become just unnecessary baggage in another.

But the things that are eternal…those we hold on to.

Those things never lose their value.

In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul talks about how at the end of this world, the special gifts of God will pass away…prophecy and speaking in tongues…the spiritual gifts…these will be just empty boxes that we no longer need.

They are useful and important now.

Now is when we want to pray for greater understanding and wisdom to use the giftings God has given us.

Now is when we live by faith and hope for His return.

Now is when we prayerfully employ every means of being equipped to live by and to share the Gospel.

Because there is a time coming when we will leave these gifts behind like broken down cardboard boxes in some dumpster.

Yes, according to Paul…in the end faith and hope and love are all that remain and the greatest of these…is love.

I have heard it said that when Christ returns, we will not need faith and hope any longer. Our eyes will see what our hearts believed and all our hope will be rewarded.

But love… the eternal LOVE of God the Father…this will be for eternity.

I pray we would have the grace to enjoy and employ the gifts and blessings of the days we are given here.

I pray we use well the time and resources we are given here and now for the here and now as we keep our eyes on the yet-to-be.

I pray we will have the inner strength to hold loosely the things of this world as we hold fast to the things of God <3

When the fretting reveals envy…ouch

I have been doing a 40 day prayer guide that is based on working through the book of Psalms.

They are speaking to me as are the prayers of the woman who put this together.

I often find comfort and encouragement in the Psalms. The words seem to grab hold of my experiences and emotions but they also give language for me to use to praise God. They offer hope and inspiration but this week I also got a good dose of conviction.

As I was driving to work, and as we all know…with fervent prayers that all lights remained green…cars were whipping around me like I was standing still.

I was going the speed limit plus the expected extra 4 miles per hour that keeps you under the radar and yet car after car went weaving in and out around me and anyone else who was remotely trying to obey the law.

And as salt rubbed in a wound….some of these zipped through yellow lights just in time while I got stuck…time and again by the red lights.

Not a policeman in sight, one by one these people sailed off through the town while I simmered at intersections waiting for the signal change.

And as I did a slow burn, words from my morning Scripture reading rose up in my heart.

“Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked…”

Immediately all kinds of thoughts rose up from inside of me in response…first off, it seemed kind of harsh to think of these speed-demons…I mean fellow road warriors…as really doing EVIL…

and then I wanted to protest that I certainly didn’t envy them…I was angry that they were getting ahead by breaking the law.

Oh.

Ouch.

God’s Word wielded that sharp edge we hear about as I realized that my “fretting” was a thin disguise for an underlying, and alarmingly weird, form of envy.

Conviction stinks, doesn’t it?

The way it exposes the ugly in my soul can leave me reeling as yet more of my old nature is dredged up and de-scummified.

But confession is a beautiful thing.

And as I acknowledged that, in some bizarre way, my little tantrum about how unfair it was that they were exceeding the speed limit to a dangerous level and were getting away with it was actually a sick form of evil-envy, I felt a release of the anger and that wave of forgiveness that always accompanies grace.

I began to praise God for who He is and found so many things to be thankful for…including that I actually did make it to work on time.

Every day we have to face the reality that people who do wrong things do not always get caught.

And people who do the right thing can get penalized for it.

It is frustrating and can leave us shaken at the injustice of it all.

But Faith looks to God and says…He sees…He knows…He is a rewarder of those who do right and for those who do wrong there will be justice.

Faith says God will take care of whatever needs to be righted and I can trust Him and just REST in Him by leaving the rest to Him <3

Faith doesn’t look forward to the payback for those who are doing wrong but looks upward to pray for them.

Faith trusts that the reward may not be seen this side of heaven and faith keeps walking in obedience.

Faith doesn’t fret or worry or stew because of what is going on…faith presses on and presses in.

Faith says…It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing…what I do, I do for the glory of God <3

I recommend all of Psalm 37 but here is just a little bit to get you started …

Never envy the wicked!

Soon they fade away like grass and disappear.

Trust in the Lord instead.

Be kind and good to others; then you will live safely here in the land and prosper, feeding in safety.  

Be delighted with the Lord. Then he will give you all your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.

Trust him to help you do it, and he will.

Your innocence will be clear to everyone.

He will vindicate you with the blazing light of justice shining down as from the noon day sun.  

Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for him to act.  

Don’t be envious of evil men who prosper.

Stop your anger!

Turn off your wrath.

Don’t fret and worry, it only leads to harm. 

Psalm 37: 1 – 8  TLB

 

We could use a little sun here….

Anybody remember the movie Bladerunner?

I don’t remember the plot or the cast, but I do remember that it took place in the future and that it rained all the time and the planet was doused in gloomy sludge and every time we have a string of grey soggy days I wonder…are we fulfilling the prophecy of some sci-fi movie?

Rain in season is wonderful, but too many overcast skies can start to wear on our spirits.

Quite a few people I love are worn down…sun or no.

Too many losses in too short of a time and it is taking a toll on us.

In the midst of these times, we need to be very aware there is a voice that is hissing…”Did God really say….?”

Not just the obvious temptation to switch up God’s word to make it fit our culture.

No.

I am talking to the steadfast in Christ.

The ones who love God and believe His Word.

But who just might succumb to that worse lie of all…

Did God REALLY say He loves…YOU? That He would never leave…YOU? That He would do good for …. YOU?

In the midst of trying times, as we look around for signs of His goodness…we must endeavor to continue to look to the Cross as the answer to that question.

Yes.

God really loves YOU…He sent His only Son for YOU…that YOU might be transferred into His Kingdom as one of His children…

no matter what it feels like…

no matter what it looks like…

He IS a GOOD GOOD FATHER…

and He loves YOU.

So hang tight, child of the Most High God.

Hold on fast to the Cross.

Wait for the Son…

He will not fail you <3