Category Archives: Discipline

focuses on the spiritual disciplines

That Essential Oil Thing…

I have to admit when so many people were jumping on the Essential Oil bandwagon, I kind of rolled my skeptical eyes and thought it was a gimmick.

But in desperation to somehow relieve my husband of having to listen to my incessant propensity to snore…which I still don’t believe I do…because, seriously…I never hear me snore…

I purchased a diffuser.

I mix a concoction of water, peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender and plug it in before bed.

Inside the gizmo, something makes the water get all vapory forcing a thin smoky looking wisp of scented cloudiness to rise up out of the hole on top.

Am I getting too technical?

The end result is, we have a faint smell of herbally stuff going on and Russ says my snoring has been minimized to just an occasional snort…

So yay!

Did you know you and I are diffusers too?

We are.

It says so right there in 2 Corinthians 2:14…

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ…

and through us…

diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place…

Imagine that for a minute.

Picture your little self, all filled up with Jesus today…going around your office and your home, the school…the grocery…wherever…

and this heavenly-scented vapor of King Jesus and His Glory just rising up out of  you.

Precious, right?

And it is…except I need to remind you that not everyone will love the smell of Jesus coming off of you.

In The Message, Eugene Peterson gives us the full impact of the rest of this passage….

 In the Messiah, in Christ,

God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade.

Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ.

Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance.

Because of Christ,

we give off a sweet scent rising to God,

which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life.

But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.

Because, while that fragrance of Him that I smell on you reminds me of His amazing Grace extended to me and brings me great joy, it is a reminder to the spirit of those not in Him that they are still separated from His Mercy.

Oh child of God…

follower of Jesus Christ your LORD…

you cannot adjust how the aroma of your Savior will be received by those around you.

But know in your heart today…

if He lives in you…

if you abide in Him…

you ARE…

spreading the essence of the most Essential Oil this world needs <3

And let me just tell you…

you smell…

wonderful….

to Him <3

Oh the irony…

Yesterday the post you may or may not have read was first typed as an email to my Thursday people…the original group that this whole blog thing grew out of.

And while I proofread the dickens out of those emails, invariably I note a mistake…

AFTER…I hit send.

I can correct it on the post here…but alas…the email version lives ever on in it’s uncorrected condition.

And yesterday I left out a most important word.

In the passage of Scripture from Acts…the email version read like this:

From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.

God did this so that they would Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us.   Acts 16: 26-27

Can you guess the missing word?

I know…it’s Friday…let me help you out….

God did THIS…put us in the times and places that we live in…so that ….we would….

SEEK Him

Seek is the word that is missing.

And I was kicking myself all the way to this morning that I left that one word out…not a little insignificant “at” or “than”…but no…the most important one.

The whole point of the passage.

But as I have mulled it over, I decided maybe God just wanted to let me have an opportunity to add a PS….

Because we need to remember.

What we seek after…we will find.

I tried to impress on our kiddos when they left for college…

you will find the group of friends and the activities you participate in that you SEEK for.

What you are looking for, you will find.

That can be good or that can be bad.

But it’s a sure thing.

What you seek after…that is what you will find.

What are you seeking after today?

A name for yourself?

Success?

Money?

Acceptance?

Notoriety?

Entertainment?

Self-indulgence?

Revenge?

Justice?

Pleasure?

or the God who put you right where you are, just the way you are….

so that…

you would…

SEEK HIM…

and…

REACH OUT TO HIM…

and…

FIND HIM <3

As I have pondered my omission of that little word “seek”…I have been convicted of some things I have been finding lately that are most assuredly the direct result of what I was looking for…

they do not produce the fruit that is becoming of one who has determined to seek her God first and foremost.

I pray if this has touched a nerve today, you would stop and seek His forgiveness and restoration so you and I can move along, unhindered by the weight of it as we….

journey onward <3

A remix that still holds true…at the end of this day <3

Happy Wednesday to you <3

I am running behind and buried under a whole bunch of mail, laundry and dirty dishes…so here is one I found back in the archives that still holds true today <3

Originally posted in May of 2014 …. and I am hoping at the end of THIS day…I have cleared the kitchen counter, ironed a shirt or two and removed a layer of dust off the furniture!

I wrote it as I thought about the guys I have heard use this expression. The good ones, who fight the good fight every day out there in the real world of the workplace.

Your families are blessed by your integrity…your steadfastness…

God bless you all who are slugging it out in the “rat race” today….remember…the rats don’t win.

Have a great day and I will work on some fresh words for tomorrow <3

At the End of the Day     originally posted May 30, 2014 

It must have started in board rooms because I hear it mostly from men who work long hours inside the walls of the corporate world.

Inside the walls of a world that I have never had to cope with.

Where deals are made and kingdoms are built …..

for a time….

for a season…

until new players take the field and new deals and kingdoms are on the line.

At the end of the day, ______________” ….

they say.

And it’s all about realizing priorities.

It’s used by men I know who seem to know that in the end, it’s important to really know what really matters.

It speaks of wisdom that comes with years.

At the end of the day_____________”…..

they say.

And it seems that this always leads to some kind of insight about relationships.

Relationships with God, with family, with friends.

“At the end of the day”, they say.

And they speak about realizing that success is really measured in how much was surrendered, not compromised.

At the end of the day….“, they say.

And there is a quiet strength and a resolve to start again tomorrow with the same integrity…

the same dedication…

the same faith that carried them to …….

IMG_0834

the end of the day….today  <3

 

Remember this?

Earlier this year I shared some posts based on a 40 day prayer series by Angela Thomas-Pharr.

Her short prayers that accompanied each day’s reading were so sweet and soul-healing that I went through the whole series again for Lent.

So when Lifeway offered to post the videos for the REDEEMED study that this is based on, I ordered the study guide and have been thrice blessed and more.

I feel like I am giving a book report here…which trust me I do not mind doing in the least because…imagine this…another favorite part of my elementary school years was BOOK REPORTS!!

And all the more if you got to make a theme project to go with it…I still get giddy thinking about my Henry and the Donut Machine mobile made from two hangers with hand drawn pictures dangling from yarn….but I digress….

OK…

Back to the Bible Study Report…and I will throw some pictures in randomly to keep you entertained but they are not theme related…sorry…

I am finding the study guide to be just the right amount of solidifying basic information, adding new information and encouraging me in my faith.

It is truly a 40 day study…as in…you do a study and prayer time for each of the 40 days, watching the video after each 7 day section.

At the end of each day is a portion of Psalms to read and then those beautiful prayers from Angela and a place for me to write out my own Psalm-inspired prayer.

The videos fill in more information. Spoiler alert…Angela has a thick North Carolina accent that may be a distraction for you if you haven’t had the blessing of actually knowing some super fun people from that area of the U.S. of A.

I have been and I can assure you…they are the best and they really do talk that way so just go with it.

I did Session 3 this past week and for the first time in my sanctification process, I heard a testimony I could actually relate to.

Angela shares that she grew up in a Christian home, she went to church all the time, she loved God and loved Jesus…and she gave her life to Christ so many times she lost count.

Because with all of her time in the church and at the church, she says she must have missed something because she just wasn’t sure she had done enough or done it in the right way so just to be sure, every time someone offered the opportunity to receive salvation…she would raise her hand.

I love that she doesn’t blame anyone. Not her church. Not her family. Not God.

She simply says for some reason, she just had never understood how Redemption worked and so she kept taking every opportunity to be redeemed until she heard Jesus whisper to her one day…

Angela, I had you the first time. 

I love love love that she follows this with the admission that she had given her life to Him so many times, she can’t even remember when the first time was.

I can so relate.

I did the same thing until our pastor and friend Wayne asked us at church one night to bow our heads and raise our hands if we were not certain we would go to heaven if we were to die right now.

Like I had every other time in similar situations, I raised my hand…hoping this time would be the one that sealed the deal.

After service, he found me and asked…basically…

What in the world???????? Why do you think you are not saved???

To which I responded…

I just don’t think I have done enough good to make up for the bad.

While I don’t remember the details of the first time I gave my life to Jesus, I vividly remember standing in the musty smelling hall of that old church building on … of all things…Church Street.

Surrounded by the most outdated carpeting, original wood trim and yucky plaster walls…

this man put his hands on my shoulder and said the words that opened my eyes to a deception that had held me captive for so much of my life…

with great conviction and confidence and compassion he said…

Oh Laura…You don’t understand GRACE. You are right. You haven’t done enough good. You never could. Even if you did your very best every single day, it’s never going to be enough. That’s what grace is about. Jesus did what you can’t. 

It wasn’t condemnation.

It was freedom.

It was life-changing, life-giving TRUTH.

I would love to say I walked away that night completely understanding but it took some sinking in.

And praise God…it’s supposed to be that way…I will never fully understand it all until I stand before Him…made perfect…finally by the same GRACE that has brought thus far <3

It was a milestone on the journey that marked a desire to know and understand and live…

drenched and soaked and spilling over from the fullness of …

this Amazing Grace.

I don’t think Angela would mind at all if I close with yesterday’s prayer from Day 13 of the study:

*I am adding the male pronouns because I know some of you are actually men who read what I write…God bless you for that <3

Oh Father, teach us about redeemed so we can tell others. Teach us about redeemed so we can live as the redeemed. Help this dear one lean in toward Your voice, unclench her fists/his fists, and cooperate with the Holy Spirit. Will you bless her/bless him , Lord? Bless her studies/his studies, her prayers/his prayers, her honesty/his honesty, and her heart/his heart? Tell her/tell him that you are with her/with him always – always and always, even to the end of the age. Oh thank you, Jesus, amen.

 

 

 

 

So. much. rain.

More. Rain.

That’s the story here and in many parts of the country.

Last night Russ and I followed the Weather Channel coverage of areas that have been hard hit with flooding and it was so sad.

We watched with horror as a school bus attempted to cross a flow of water on a road – something we are all clear we are never to do, right???

The water was deeper and the current stronger than anticipated.

This huge yellow carrier of small children began to float and then almost capsized as it leaned dangerously on its side.

The reporter narrated the whole thing like a sporting event, as if we couldn’t see it playing out. He was merciful enough to quickly jump to the end where the bus made it through somehow and all the kids were safe.

Except for the part where they probably will have nightmares and an irrational fear of yellow and buses for a while.

Or a lifetime.

The driver made a decision and put the kids in peril that were under his or her care.

Due to circumstances beyond their control (which also happens to be the theme of the devotions I am studying this week), these little ones were subjected to a wild ride, no small amount of upheaval and came close to a serious, if not permanent, change to their young lives.

It makes me think of our journeys and how sometimes there seem to be forces driving the trajectory of our lives that take us right into the most unpleasant of situations.

We are like a first grader, clutching our backpack as our world is dragged along in a current that threatens to overturn all that is sacred in us and to us.

We look around for help, but our fellow travelers are grasping for stability with their own white-knuckle grip.

And at those times, we who have given all to follow Christ, might be tempted to think God has abandoned us completely. Oswald Chambers refers to it as “those times when God seems like an unkind friend”.

Many years ago, I was going through a season where everything that could possibly be shaken was coming on like Ninja blender.

I remember drawing a huge roller coaster in my journal pages that featured deep ups and downs and a tiny little cart perched at the top of a doozy of a drop. It had a little stick figure me in it and I sat before the Lord and told Him…this is what I feel like.

In the silence that followed my presentation, four words were impressed on my heart that I think of often.

I

made

the

track

It was all I needed to know.

Even though life was throwing twists and curves that I didn’t understand and the path was bewildering, I knew my life was and is in the Hands of the One who designed it.

No matter what….

He is a good Father.

And you and me…we are loved by Him.

He’s got this…

and He’s got us…

and He will get us safely home <3