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Posts Tagged ‘quiet time’

Jesus Loves the Sistuhs

In the little mill house where we live, the lady who raised a family here back in the day had her husband put shelves in the indoor porch windows. Sunlight streams through them in the mornings. So they’re a great place to save cuttings for the following Spring.

Does anybody do that anymore? I don’t want to get started harping on how we throw things out without a thought. I don’t recycle like I should, but some things are worth hanging onto. I love colored bottles in a windowsill with a little Wandering Jew, or sweet potato plant. It feels like winter won’t last forever.

But I’m also a neat freak. Seriously, I think I may have a sickness. I can’t stand clutter. Poor David will leave a paper on the kitchen counter when he gets home. Next time he looks for it, that thing is long gone. There’s a tray near the door for keys, phone chargers, ink pens, note paper, and tape. I try really hard to leave that as a safe haven for stuff he may want later. But I ended up moving it to a little shelf so I didn’t have to look at it. I know. I’m a freak.

When we got married, I think my sweet mother-in-law Nina may have anticipated my “sickness.” She gave me a trivet with this verse:

“My house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy.”

It’s a great motto to remember when I start stressing about the grease on the kitchen walls. I’ll get to it eventually.

Like most things in life it comes down to balance. In my heart, I want to sit at the feet of Jesus like Mary and hear all the things He has to share. But in my head is Martha shouting, “Get off your lazy butt and clean this place up!”

So here is how I keep both ladies happy. First thing in the morning, [well, right after a shower] Mary and I sit with the Lord in a place without distraction. Martha put on the coffee and set the timer the night before so Mary could wake up better. Martha also put a clock in the quiet corner so Mary wouldn’t forget the time. Mary made sure to have her glasses, notebook, ink pen and Bible so she could pay close attention. She decided ahead of time that Martha would have to keep her voice down for at least thirty minutes. Martha agreed on the plan and decided she would make a list of things to do. Included on the list is “Quiet Time,” so that as soon as Mary is through, she will have the pleasure of already accomplishing the most important thing of the day. SHE gets to mark it off.

It’s a great plan, mostly because after sitting with Jesus, it’s easier to know what to put on the list. And suddenly, the most important thing, stays #1.

 

For more on the sisters’ Jesus loved, see Luke10:38-41.

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A man walks into a coffee shop and orders an espresso without cream. “I’m sorry sir,” the barista apologizes. “We’re out of cream. Would you like an espresso without milk?”

I feel like that sometimes. I’m so busy thinking of what I can’t do that I forget about the things I can. Like Moses doing his best Mel Tillis impersonation when God asked him to speak to Pharaoh.

“B.. b.. b… but Lord. You, you, you know I st… st… stutter, right?”

Can you imagine having a speech problem and God asking you to speak to the President on His behalf?

When reading the account of God’s asking, we see that He promised wonderful miracles at Moses’ command, just to confirm that the Lord had truly sent him.

But that awful speech impediment…

Moses couldn’t get past it.

So God suggested Moses take his brother Aaron with him to speak.

Somehow, Moses worked through his fear, brought his brother on board to help, and got the job done.

Exodus chapter 3 through 4:17 gives Moses’ conversation with the Lord. It sounds very familiar to me.

“But Lord, what if…?”

What do you remind the Lord of when He asks you to do something on His behalf?

What’s your speech impediment?

I wonder what I could accomplish if I would bring what I have to Him instead of what I don’t have.

May your day be filled with reminders of all you have…

and coffee with a splash of cream.

Tears in a Bottle

Originally the story ended there. 246 words made a nice size blog. The Truth of God’s Word is clear. But I feel I need to confess. Since my goal in writing is not to manage my image, but to help those who need a word of hope, here’s the rest of the story:

I am so afraid.

I was awake most of the night after writing the above wondering and asking, “But Lord, what if…?”

And the list that followed is very long.

That’s why a quiet time with Him each morning is so valuable. “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” –Psalm 30:5b

While I won’t be entering any skipping contests today, thankfully He gave me the encouragement from Psalm 56:3,4- “But when I am afraid, [like today] I will put my trust in You. I praise God for what He has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?”

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” –vs.8

Our beloved Lord has not forgotten that we are made of dust. Each tear is not only noted, but understood. That’s why we can safely and confidently hide beneath the shadow of His wings. And when we weep through a night, or a day, or a week, or a very long hard year… may it be to Him:

“I cry out to God Most High, to God Who will fulfill His purpose for me. He will send help from heaven to rescue me…

My God will send forth His unfailing love and faithfulness.” –Psalm57:1-3

For those of you like me, who needed the rest of this story, I’m praying for you today. Let’s rest together in the care of the One Who loves us enough to keep our tears in a bottle.

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You’re kinda proud of yourself. You’ve been patient through a bunch of crud hitting the fan. You even smiled through much of it. Then the proverbial straw fell and broke your back. Without notice you went from zero to psycho in less than 60 seconds.

Just blame it on the demons.

Scripture speaks of a spiritual battle and I don’t doubt it one bit. Why is it that just when I’m feeling pretty heavenly, out of nowhere comes the rage akin to Ursula the Sea Witch? I remember a time as a young mom with three little daughters who could fit in the bathtub at the same time.

[That’s not at all like the nursery rhyme with three men in a tub which is just weird.]

Anyway, they would play in the water happily until their skin shriveled and their little teeth chattered. Please don’t report me. I would sit in my comfy chair right outside their door and have my quiet time… so they were neglected for a worthy cause.

At the time, we were renting a little house with a lovely green shag carpet in the bathroom. I HATED that carpet, but couldn’t do anything about it. When I went to get them out of the tub one day, they had played “Whoopeydaw” which I learned was a game they invented. If three little girls push bathwater hard enough, they can make a wave like the ocean. When it splashes over the side of the tub, it is appropriate to say, “WHOOPEYDAW!!”

Though I had heard the victory cry numerous times, it only confirmed that they were having a great deal of fun, and that no one had drowned yet. It did not occur to me that the loathsome green carpet was getting soaked beyond repair. When I stepped into the magical land of Toilet by the Sea… in my sock feet, all the spiritual understanding gleaned moments earlier went down the drain [along with the small amount of water left in the tub.] I went from zero to psycho in waaayyy less than sixty seconds. Not one of my finer moments.

Scripture is a great Teacher. But time is another. Thirty years later if my grandchildren enjoy a similar invented game, I will likely praise their creative genius then show them how to use a shop vac.

I knew I should’ve had my grandchildren first.

AbleHat

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Circle of Life

The hawk was impressive. He sat on a wooden beam topping the swing frame in our daughter’s back yard. As his sharp beak ripped a small animal to pieces he obviously enjoyed his breakfast. He spread his massive wings displaying beautiful markings as he returned to the woods around her house.

We have a hawk in our yard/airspace in town. It resembles the little chicken hawk in the cartoon “Foghorn-Leghorn.” However, our bunny population has been pretty scarce the past few years, so perhaps Henery Hawk is fiercer than his size would suggest. A few weeks ago we had a black snake that kept showing up too close for comfort. This week I was delighted to see a rabbit grazing in our yard each evening. I caught myself praying over the bunny that the Lord would keep him safe. Bunnies are a lot more fun to watch than snakes.

A few mornings later, three little bunnies hopped about the yard enjoying our bumper crop of clover. They chased each other around the crepe myrtle tree right by the window where I have my quiet time… which tends to take a while. Okay Lord. Where were we? Bless the grandbabies and the people on Facebook who need the blessings. The lady with the thing and the other lady with the other thing, and a big praise for the kid in the big boy undies…
And thank You for the bunnies…

I’m not distracted at all. Come to think of it…

Right there in my own yard is a picture of our life.

One day a nasty snake is stealing baby bluebirds and all my joy. The next day bunny rabbits are romping through clover making me happy. If this blog had sound, right about now the “Circle of Life” would play. So enjoy that in your head and pray for my bunny rabbits. Because about the time Henery Hawk swoops down and grabs one for breakfast, I am going to lose my ever-loving mind.

In case you didn’t know already, my spirituality hangs by a teeny tiny thread.

Trust me. There's a bunny in the grass.

Trust me. There’s a bunny in the grass. AND I cropped out those nasty chairs which are in dire need of a pressure wash. But alas, now you know the truth about our sad little outdoor living space.

Bunnies on the side.

Bunnies out the window.

PS: Special thanks to my friend David Roman who de-bugged my laptop. He’s a little bit amazing! So glad to be back in the Blogosphere!

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Don’t you love the car commercials with the teeny tiny print at the bottom? If one were to jump up from one’s comfy television watching space and bolt to the screen with a giant magnifying glass, I think it would still be impossible to see the fine print. It seems that’s the plan. They don’t actually want us to read the disclaimer. It could say, “Tires automatically fall off when speeds of more than 35mph are achieved,” or “Model shown will explode upon impact and should only be used in action films.”

I’m not sure which is worse; ads like those, or the medication warnings which list everything that could happen if the drug is taken. Gross. We were having supper the other night when we were treated to a camera view inside a colon as surgeons explained the importance of removing polyps. Apparently the marketing crew for Stanley Hospital decided that would attract more patients.

Yuk.

But I guess that’s what we get for dining in front of the Tool of Satan.

Isn’t it good to know that the One Who is the beginning of all wisdom and understanding invites us to investigate His Word? The closer we look, the better the news. “Come listen to My counsel. I’ll share My heart with you and make you wise.” –Proverbs 1:23
The more we get into His Word, the more joy we can share with the One Who made us. Listen to this beautiful verse from Psalm 85:10 NLT:

“Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed.”

Unlike tiny indecipherable print, or gross TMI, Scripture is filled with beautiful Words of life. The sweet righteous One, filled with unfailing love invites:

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” –Matthew11:29-30

Perhaps it’s wise to check out the fine print BEFORE the wheels fall off.

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You’re kinda proud of yourself. You’ve been patient through a bunch of crud hitting the fan. You even smiled through much of it. Then the proverbial straw fell and broke your back. Without notice you went from zero to psycho in less than 60 seconds.

Just blame it on the demons.

Scripture speaks of a spiritual battle and I don’t doubt it one bit. Why is it that just when I’m feeling pretty heavenly, out of nowhere comes the rage akin to Ursula the Sea Witch? I remember a time as a young mom with three little daughters who could fit in the bathtub at the same time.

[That’s not at all like the nursery rhyme with three men in a tub which is just weird.]

Anyway, they would play in the water happily until their skin shriveled and their little teeth chattered. Please don’t report me. I would sit in my comfy chair right outside their door and have my quiet time… so they were neglected for a worthy cause.

At the time, we were renting a little house with a lovely green shag carpet in the bathroom. I HATED that carpet, but couldn’t do anything about it. When I went to get them out of the tub one day, they had played “Whoopeydaw” which I learned was a game they invented. If three little girls push bathwater hard enough, they can make a wave like the ocean. When it splashes over the side of the tub, it is appropriate to say, “WHOOPEYDAW!!”

Though I had heard the victory cry numerous times, it only confirmed that they were having a great deal of fun, and that no one had drowned yet. It did not occur to me that the loathsome green carpet was getting soaked beyond repair. When I stepped into the magical land of Toilet by the Sea… in my sock feet, all the spiritual understanding gleaned moments earlier went down the drain [along with the small amount of water left in the tub.] I went from zero to psycho in waaayyy less than sixty seconds. Not one of my finer moments.

Scripture is a great Teacher. But time is another. Thirty years later if my grandchildren enjoy a similar invented game, I will likely praise their creative genius then show them how to use a shop vac.

I knew I should’ve had my grandchildren first.

 

Psalm 37:8

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Lessons Learned

If you were to make a list of things you’ve learned from your past, what would it include? My list would have things like… objects really are closer than they appear in the mirror; pounds do not melt away by watching Zumba videos; and the all-important truth that when one is on the back of a motorcycle and one’s husband says, “It’s getting pretty cloudy and looks like rain. Do you want to keep going?” The wise answer to that would be, “No.”

The Lord in His wonderful wisdom has a couple different ways to teach His children. Sometimes it’s through instruction, others it’s through experience.

Through instructive wisdom He shares things that we tell our own kids. Stuff like:

“Come here son. Let me tell you about that woman flirting and looking so fine. I know she smells good and wears those skinny jeans well. But what you are thinking is a bad idea. You might as well take a scoop of hot charcoal out of the grill and dump it into your underpants as to pursue her.” [See Proverbs 5 & 6.]

At other times we learn from personal experience. Those lessons are much harder, things you put on your mental list NEVER to do again. Stuff like shopping for groceries when you’re so hungry that everything in the store looks like manna from heaven.

Psalm 78:1-4 gives us an even better way to learn. It’s kind of a “Super-sized combo pack.”    We can listen to His instructions AND learn from experience… of others. That’s way easier than having to go through it ourselves.

“O my people listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past; stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us.”

Things like…

  • When a mighty army of troubles chase us and there’s no way out, it could be that He’s put us on an amazing path we cannot see**
  • If the boss makes trouble because we’re honoring the Lord, God might be setting US up to lead++
  • Being brave is a scary thing, but it could save your life and the lives of lots of loved ones^^
  • Even a widowed foreigner with a mother-in-law to take care of can be taken to an honored place just for being faithful in the day to day##

The wisest One of all wants to tell us a story, something that will benefit us for life. No telling how much grief it will save to sit at His feet and enjoy His beautiful Truth.

 

Want to see it for yourself?

**Exodus 14:5-31 = a story of rescue; see the sweet companion verse in Psalm 777:16-20

++Daniel 6 = jealousy in the workplace

^^Esther 2:1-20= an orphan is made queen and eventually saves a whole race of people

##Ruth- See how she became great-granny to King David, and then also a relative of Jesus

 

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What’s your first day of the week? Ours is Tuesday.

I know… weird.

But since Fantasy Football ends on Monday night, Tuesday starts a new week. Plus David is off on Mondays, so that ends up being our Saturday.

So here’s what I want you to do. Pull out a calendar and start now. No need to wait for January to start a new year, or August for a new school year, or Yom Kipper… or your birthday…

Today is the day. Surely you can find an old calendar. The drugstore is probably throwing away last year’s edition.

Or you can use your Bible. That’s what I do. Out beside a verse, or on a block on the calendar, write what you prayed for and the date you prayed. Or write a blessing God gave specifically in answer to your prayer. Make this a new habit. You’ll be so pleasantly surprised at how many times He provides.

For example, last year beside Psalm 35:9,10 which says:

“Then I will rejoice in the LORD. I will be glad because He rescues me. With every bone in my body I will praise Him: LORD, who can compare with You? Who else rescues the helpless from the strong? Who else protects the helpless and poor from those who rob them?”

I wrote, “Owe $1599 in taxes,” and dated it 3.6.12.That was just Federal. See how that verse is relevant?

Then we prayed… often.  And we had been praying all year… all tax year… because we knew it was coming.

We made an appointment to see if we could set up payments… or beg for mercy. Then our tax preparer told us the news. There had been an error. Our debt was $0. Wait, what? Check again dear. This is the government and they don’t give mercy.

But our God does. And He also answers our prayers with awesome deeds!

So beside Psalm 35:10 I was also able to write this: “$0 taxes owed 3.7.12.” And every time I pass that way, my heart rejoices and thanks the Lord for His wonderful provision.

Why should we start today?

Because the next time an overwhelming situation circles your life like a bunch of hungry buzzards, you can recall first hand God’s faithfulness.  Plus Psalm78:40-42 shows us that we actually grieve His heart when we do not remember His power and how He rescues us.

It’s a great day to start a New Year!

Besides, it’s Tuesday!

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People have funny ideas about Scripture. Some even quote verses that aren’t there. If “cleanliness is next to godliness,” then my mom and Jesus are joined at the hip. While I don’t doubt at all that they hang out together frequently now that she is in Heaven, I do not believe it’s because she was the cleanest person to walk this green earth.

This truth has been true for too long. From Isaiah 29:13 we hear:

“And so the LORD says, ‘These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.’”

If Jesus thought enough of a passage to quote it, knowing that would cause it to be written in both the Old and New Testaments, perhaps it is noteworthy.

“Jesus replied, ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote:

‘These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.’” -Mark 7:7,8

Before we tell a suffering soul that “God won’t give them more than they can bear,” let’s notice that the comfort is that He is the One Who will bear it.

Before we say, “Judge not!” to someone, let’s check the context to make sure we’re not spouting off a cliché. The Lord also warns us to be wise and make correct judgments.

Before we take the words, “I can do all things through Christ!” as our mantra, let’s realize those words were written from jail. “All things” may include some suffering and perhaps a little prison food.

I looked all over for the verse, “This too shall pass.” Numerous translations later I realized I couldn’t find it because IT’S NOT IN THERE!

We can only separate the world’s philosophy from Truth if we know the Word.

Get in God’s Word. That’s the only way to heed the warning Jesus cared so much about.

Bible clichés are a source of comedy in the Clark household. I was aggravated about something one day and commented to a daughter that I had my butt on my shoulders. That dear friend is a heavy load. Her comfort was this “Don’t worry mom. God won’t give us more than we can bear.”

Can I get a halleluiah up in here?

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Have you eaten animal crackers lately? Probably not. I can think of a lot better options. I’m actually happy to have them once I realized that several brands have nothing artificial or funky. Even graham crackers and vanilla wafers have cottonseed oil which is a big no-no with my mystery illness. So I keep a little bag of animal crackers in my purse in case I get faint-i-fied. They’re okay in a pinch.

This blog is much like animal crackers. It’s not real deep and mostly for fun. Hopefully you are opening your Bible and seeing what the Lord has for you personally. I never want to substitute that. He loves to teach us. As ancient as I am, I still see brand new things daily. This is what He had for me this morning:

Isaiah 28:29a says, “The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is a wonderful teacher.”

Isaiah is a difficult book unless you understand history. I do not therefore I tend to glaze over while reading it. So while I’m taking it in a little at a time, I’m also reading the Psalms. This is what I read after seeing the Isaiah passage. Psalm 19 is beautiful and speaks of how creation shouts out the majesty of the Lord. Even the most hardened soul can be touched by a glorious sunrise. It goes on to tell us that the Word of God does this for us:

  • Revives the soul
  • Makes wise the simple
  • Brings joy to the heart
  • Gives insight for living
  • Warns of danger
  • Blesses with a great reward
  • Cleanses us from hidden faults

Wowee! Who couldn’t use a little renewal, wisdom, joy, insight, warning, reward, and cleansing? It may be just what the doctor ordered!

I hope I make you laugh, or think, or think about laughing. But don’t settle for animal crackers when you can enjoy the whole enchilada!

Just use this little blog for a snack so you don’t get faint-i-fied.

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