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Whose plan are you following?

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A few weeks ago I hosted my annual end-of-the-year Sunday School Class Party.  After spending many hours and lots of $$$ preparing for the party, things did not go as planned.

 

1.  Had Ginny (The Mother-in-law, but I knew this one).

2.  Wednesday before the Friday night party, I get a text from my son saying he and his entire family were coming for the weekend and arriving Friday afternoon.  That’s 2 adults and 4 grandkids added to the mix.

3.  Drama.  I don’t know what happened yet, but some kind of drama happened in youth group [I know that surprises all who know youth] on Wednesday and half the group did not show as a result.

4.  Some of the ones that did show did not want to participate in planned activities.  Grandchildren wanted to participate in ALL the activities.

5.  Isn’t that enough?

You know what?  Life is that way sometimes.  No matter what we plan, God is in control of what happens.  He knew all about what would happen at the party.  He is in charge of any results from the party.  I did my part by planning, God will do His part in the hearts of the students and others attending.

 

Best laid plans. . .

Most of us like to have a plan in place.  Plans help us feel ‘in control’ of our lives.  They do, that is, until things go awry.  I know some people who freak out when they have their plans usurped.   I know others who make no plans to avoid disappointment.  God doesn’t mind us making our plans, as long as we don’t leave Him out of the loop or raise a fuss when He has other ideas.

 

Trusting His plan gives life balance

His Plan.

Fortunately, God has a plan.  These are some things we can know about His plans.

 

►His plans never fail.

“…I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” Isaiah 46:9-10

 

►His plans include my good.

“11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

►No matter who governs me or my country, God is my ultimate ruler.

“For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations” Psalm 22:28

Knowing the above, I feel safe, even when my plans go awry.  I trust that God had a purpose in it all, and that He will carry that purpose out, whether I am aware of it or not.  I think we need a reminder of this, especially as those in the USA face the upcoming election.  No one can get in office unless God allows it for His reasons.  This helps me to know that:

 

►A person cannot cheat his/her way in.

►It’s not the end of the world if my candidate is not selected.  It is in God’s plan, and the end of the world will be when He declares it.

►I don’t have to be swayed by circumstances.  I know who has me in His hands regardless of the circumstances.  I know Him.  I trust Him.  That determines my attitudes and actions, not circumstances.

 

I hope as the world seems to have turned upside down, you will place your trust in the only place where it is safe.  Then I hope you will join me in determining to rise above the fray and bring a breath of fresh air into a sticky situation.  My hope is in God, not Obama or Romney.

 

How about you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂

 

 

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Time for a Checkup

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I have been a very bad girl.  I recently ran out of medications, and with no refills available, I had to call my doctor.  I’ve actually only seen that doctor once, and have debated about going back to him versus going back to my other health care provider or seeking someone else entirely.  He was busy, so I was scheduled to see His wife.  I think this was a God thing.  You see, it had been a year and a half since I had been to the doctor.  I had not been taking care of myself for a long time for various reasons, and it’s time to get this back under control.  The good news is that my blood sugars and my asthma are both doing well.

 

Another issue I struggle with is weight.  I had lost about 70lbs and was doing well.  Then I got it in my head that I would start taking my diabetes medications like I’m supposed to.  Big mistake?  I don’t know, but I gained all that weight back and more in a matter of a couple months, even though I stopped as soon as I realized what had happened.  With a bum knee and all the extra weight piled on, I am in worse shape than ever.  And I am discouraged.

 

English: A doctor listens to the lungs of 3-ye...

English: A doctor listens to the lungs of 3-year old boy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why do I tell you this?  Sickness of the body (or lack of physical good health) often keeps us from being the people God created us to be.  My struggles keep me chained, in a sense, and hold me back from being/doing what I would like to do.   Even ministry items have to be thought out carefully before taking them on.  Many of those things that a normal 54 year old woman can do, I cannot.  I’ve had medical issues all my life and have had to adjust my life to accommodate them.  But, I often get frustrated because I want to be like everyone else (or as I perceive them).  Fortunately, many health issues can be taken care of by medication or just waiting for them to pass.   Sometimes, God chooses to completely heal.  All the time He is in the process.

 

So, when it comes to doing things like playing with the grandkids, going to the mall with my daughter, having a party for my Sunday School Class, and much more, I often have to pass or get help.  In one sense, that keeps me dependent on God, and that’s a good thing!  On the other hand, it limits my ability to relate with others doing every day things.   It’s amazing how God uses my ‘dis’ abilities at times, so I trust Him that He’ll give me the ability to do what He wants me to do, but I also wonder how many times I’ve let Him down because I just can’t do some things.

 

How’s your Health?

All of the above, a struggle I have on a daily basis, got me thinking about spiritual health.  God is much more concerned with my spiritual health than my physical health, and the only disability there is me.  How do you measure spiritual health?  How often do we miss out on ministry opportunities because our spiritual health is not very good?  How do we get healthy once we realize we’ve become spiritually sick?

 

http://www.freeclipartnow.com/science/medicine/Sin Sick

The first way spiritual sickness strikes is common to man:  sin sickness.  Those who have not accepted Christ have a sickness unto death, and the remedy is to let Jesus cover your sin with His blood and make you white and whole again.   Sin sickness still lurks in the natural man while we’re on earth, however.   If we are not progressing toward becoming like Christ, we may have allowed our sin sickness to taint our spiritual health again.  We heal this problem by keeping short accounts with God, confessing our sin, and getting right with our God.

 

Busy-ness

Another way we can become spiritually sick is through busyness.  Are you so busy you let your quiet time slip?  Do you go through the motions, looking churchy, but feeling bankrupt inside?  When we get busy, especially busy doing “God’s Work”, we may let our relationship with said God (and others) slip without even realizing it.

 

Wrong Thoughts

We can do all the right things but for all the wrong reasons.  If we do things to be seen by man, because we feel like it’s an obligation, or to be with our friends, we may have a problem.   All of those things are ok, but not if they are our motivation.  Our thoughts determine so much about us.  They also act as a barometer or thermometer to tell us we’re having problems and need to get help.

 

7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:…”  Proverbs 23:7a

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Luke 12:34

Fortunately, the Great Physician is always on call, 24/7.  He gave us a prescription for spiritual maladies in the Bible, and sends His Spirit to help us understand the medications and convict us let us know when we’ve become spiritually sick.

Here’s hoping you find yourself healthy after this check up 😀  If not, I recommend you put in a call to the Great Physician.

Step into my parlor said the spider to the fly!

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This morning I witnessed a disgusting horific amazing sight.  I often have to make trips to the little girls room in the middle of the night.  My procedure, in order to keep from waking the hubs and make sure I don’t run into any unwanted centipedes surprises, is to put on shoes, go into the bathroom, shut the door and flip the light and tap on the floor a couple of times with my cane so the buggers know I’m coming and scat (hopefully).  This time, the lights flipped on and I saw a bug coming.  It wasn’t a centipede, so Brian wasn’t woke up with a scream; it was a little thing about a 1/2″ long.  I tapped my cane so it would go back into the bowels of where ever and leave me alone.

English: spider web with fog droplets, San Fra...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It turned tail to run and started doing this little spinny thing as another even tinier bug came running toward it.  The tiny bug was maybe an 1/8th of an inch, so I couldn’t tell what it was and thought it was a baby of the other.  I was wrong!  Before I knew what was happening the tiny spider came up and bit the other insect that had tripped on his web.  I then had to got to watch him work.  The other bug struggled briefly, but soon succumbed to the poison.  The spider then wrapped the bug up and anchored it better.  It was a bitter sweet moment.  My attempt to save the bigger bugs life by keeping it from coming close enough to the bottom of my shoe went horribly wrong.  While fascinated by the action unfolding before me, I had to feel sad for the bug who became dinner (or more likely breakfast) for the spider.  I didn’t even know that spider or its web were in that corner.  They were not visible (whether to my old eyes or just well camouflaged.)

The whole ordeal reminded me of two things: the movie “The Fly” and how we get entangled in sin.

I have an article I keep in my Bible called, “Sin Wants to be Your Friend” by Tim Challies.  He says it so well:

“Sin makes so many promises.  Sin promises joy.  It promises fulfilment. Sin promises to be your

Spider web

(Photo credit: @Doug88888)

friend.  When you first meet a new friend you reveal only little bits of who you are, what you believe, what is important to you.  But over time, if the friendship is to grow, you need to reveal more and more of yourself, you need to open yourself up.  Friendship grows out of the vulnerability of allowing another person to see who you really are beneath the polite exterior.  Sin asks you to give just a little bit more of yourself to it every time.  Just a bit more.  Just a bit more after that.  But over time sin comes to own you.  It comes to know everything there is to know about you.  And then it stabs you in the back and laughs with glee as you are left sputtering and humiliated and destroyed.  It laughs as your marriage is destroyed, as your church is shamed, as your friends are betrayed.  That’s the kind of friend it is.”

Just as the spider laid its invisible trap, sin lays a trap for it.  We seldom see it coming because it draws us in gradually, but once we are entangled in its web, it’s too late.  Sin swoops in and takes another victim.  Sadly, with sin, the sinner is never the only victim.  Sin hurts. It hurts the sinner.  It hurts those who love the sinner.  It hurts society as well on some level.  Sin promises all those things we think we want, but delivers death.  Only God is our true friend, a Promise Keeper, a Need Meeter, a Disciplinarian, and so much more.  Any and all needs we have can be met in God, but we have to choose Him over the false trappings of sin

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.    —James 1:13-15

As James tells us, sin happens when we are lured and enticed by our own desire.  We look (and do not look away).  We want.  We place our foot on that web, thinking we can always get away or that it won’t hurt us.  We are wrong.  Sin, when followed to it’s conclusion “brings for death”.   Sin may appear fun for a while, but that is an illusion.   That’s why we should “guard our hearts with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  Proverbs 4:23

Step into my parlor . . .

English: Centiped

Our choices make us

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Our very lives are fashioned by choice.  First we make choices.  Then our choices make us.” — Anne FrankSignature of Anne Frank

 

When I saw this quote, I had to sigh because it is so true.  As a human being, I usually look for other reasons why my life/body/relationships/other isn’t as it should be.  But, at some point along the way, I made a choice.  That choice often led to other choices, leading me down a path I never intended to go.

 

 

We can think of those choices as building blocks.  What have you built your life on?  What kind of choices make up your foundation?  Every time we make poor choices, we are adding an unstable block.  Too many of those, and you can see the possibility for disaster.

 

Let’s use health as an example.  Every time I choose to eat something not good for me (on a consistent basis), every time I choose to sit instead of move, every time I go on a bad diet and mess up my metabolism, every time I make bad choices, my bad choices will make up who I am.  I am not saying that everyone is responsible for all their health issues.  Let me repeat that:  I am NOT saying that everyone is responsible for all their health issues.  Sometimes things happen that are outside of our control. Cancer happens; accidents happen; we get old; life takes us places we don’t want to go.  But, those things aside, our choices do effect our health.

 

We can apply this principle (sowing and reaping) to other things in our life as well.  Do we choose to be in relationships with people who are not good for us?  Do we choose to get drunk or high and not only harm our bodies but set ourselves up for even worse decisions under the influence?  Do we choose selfish desires over generosity?  This list of questions could go on for a mile or more, but the point is that our choices do make a difference – now and in the future.

 

So, now what?  I’m on this other path, and I want off!  Am I stuck?  While I may not be able to undo everything I have done by my choices, I can begin by making better choices from here on.

 

Bible

Bible (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

The first choice I recommend for all is to choose Jesus as Savior and Lord.  With that choice as a foundation, you have a lot of resources at your command.  As you seek to deepen your relationship with your Creator, you will begin to be like Him and make better choices.The second  choice I recommend is spending time in God’s Word.  Proverbs is a great place to find instruction in wise choices.  The entire Bible is a manual in both good and bad choices.

English: Jonah, as in Jonah 2:10, "And th...

English: Jonah, as in Jonah 2:10, “And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”;watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

–Jonah decided to run from the Lord’s calling.  That didn’t work out so well for him.

 

–Noah decided to obey the Lord, despite the taunts of everyone else in the world.  He lived; they died.

 

–Lot choose to pitch his tent toward Sodom and Gomorrah.  While that may have seemed a rather neutral choice, it was anything but.  His eyes were fixed on his own comfort instead of God.  This choice led to major destruction for his family and tainted the rest of his life.

 

Even when our choices seem to have no right or wrong, they send us in different directions.  It is wise to spend time in prayer before making those decisions so we don’t go in the wrong direction and live to regret it.

 

What choices have you made lately?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related articles

What’s Your Beam?

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Sins of the tongue probably rate as the worst kinds of sins as far as harm to others goes.  Yet, we sit in our churches with blazing tongues, spreading hurt to all with no qualms.  While I believe homosexuality is a sin because the Bible says it is, I sometimes question the obsession with it that I see among Christians.  It’s like we’ve separated the sins into acceptable and unacceptable categories.  We have our pet sins; those go into the acceptable category.  Then we have the ones that don’t bother us as much; those go into the unacceptable category.

 

Let me tell you no sin is acceptable to God!

 

We are all sinners.  There is none righteous, no not one.  We cannot gloss over some sins and sit in our pews as holier-than-thou whited sepulchres, spewing ungodliness in our judgmentalness.  We ought to do one and not leave the other undone.  We should worry about sin – all sin – our own sin first.

 

The Bible tells us to take the beam out of our own eye first.  Then we will be able to see clearly to help others remove the speck in their eyes.  As long as we have these sins that we cling to and justify and ignore as ‘not so bad’, we will be unable to help others with their sin.  This is the problem when it comes to speaking out against sin.  We do not have the right to do so until we have cleaned up our own back yard.  I am not saying we shouldn’t speak out.  I’m saying we should clean up that beam and then speak out, when we have the right and the ability to help others in the same mess we found ourselves in.

 

We have the answer:  Jesus Christ.  But we besmirch His name when we excuse sin in our own lives while condemning others for theirs.  I have been asking God for over a year to show me the truth about these matters.  He is slowly but surely moving me into His will as He teaches me how to walk with Him and how to know Him as He truly is.  This is a difficult concept for most Christians,  but it is difficult in its very simplicity.  The same is true of salvation.  It is simple, and yet we make it hard.

 

So what beams do you have in your eyes, keeping you from seeing clearly? 

 

In this series, we will talk about the beams we can have and what they look like.  Tune in for more. . . .

 

 

Political Communication: Is it possible?

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As the USA heads closer to election time, people’s’ humanity (sin nature) seems to be rising to the top.  It’s everywhere.

“I’m right.  You’re stupid.”

“I know what’s best.”

“Only an idiot would believe that.”

“Libs are . . . .”

“Conservatives are . . .”

You know you’ve seen/heard it all too.  How can a country that has become so polarized ever find neutral ground and begin communicating with one another?

 

Real communication starts with respect.

1.  No name calling.

2.  No trying to out-yell another to get your point across.

3.  Really listen to the other person instead of formulating your argument or interrupting.

4.  Try to turn off your filters and hear the other person without bias.

5.  Recognize that stupidity, bias, greed, etc. runs in both parties.

6.  Turn off the arrogance!  You are not God and do not know everything.

7.  Recognize that your rights end where my nose begins.

8.  Remember that people often want they same things, they simply have a different plan for arriving there.

9.  Recognize that your world is not the universe.  Where you live, how you were raised, and a hundred other factors go into your world view, and everyone’s world view is at least somewhat unique even though common characteristics may exist.

10. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  (Galatians 5:22-23).  Exersize these fruits and begin to plant seeds of kindness, and respect as you go about your daily life.

11.  If you are a Christian – pray for them.

 

This a start to the list.  Can you think of other ways to show respect to others?  Are you guilty of disrespect to those who disagree with you? 

 

By the way, silence is not respect.  We need to speak up, but we need to do it in a respectful way that acknowledges others as human beings.  I can and will stand on my principles, especially those that God laid down in the Bible.  But,  I will attempt to do so as Jesus did.  He was tough when needed, but always thought of what would bring others to God.  He was/is the embodiment of the Fruit of the Spirit.

 

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man shows, this he will also reap.  For one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.  And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.   Galatians 6:7-9

 

 

The Joys of Miss Communication

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Hello, Hallo, chíkmàa, Servus, صباح الخير, kaixo, pryvitańnie, Wai, hafa?, sga-noh, hola, Muribwanji, 你好, hej, hutch-e-lul-lul-o, kuzu-zangpo, hyvää päivää, salut, grüß Gott, huthegelluthego, Γεια σου, aloha, shalom, góðan da, Dia duit, こんにちは konnichi wa, Yow Wah gwaan, kwe kwe, Dev baro dis div, salaam or do-rood, atswhay upay?, bees-e-lees-e, barey, Selam,….

Have you ever noticed how two three a hundred people can read the same thing, hear the same thing, and have a different response based on several factors.  These factors include our cultural filters (I typed flitters first – should I have kept it??), our upbringing filters, our worldview filters, our family filters, our experience filters, our belief filters, and millions many more.

 

 

One reason I love writing about communication involves the miscommunications that happen every single day whenever two people try to communicate.  It gives me more fodder for my blog and teaches me more about communication.  As a people watcher, I love, love, love watching and listening to others (or reading posts and comments).

 

 

 

Montage of languages. Prototype header for the...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

The other day, I took my oldest Granddaughter to Chick Filet.  While she was playing, I was listening to two friends behind me having a conversation.  One was obviously more of a talker and an interrupter.  The less-talking friend was trying to tell something to the other.  Every couple minutes few seconds, the more-talker would interrupt her in mid-sentence to insert her own thoughts, questions, and analogies.  I presume she was going for clarification, but what she was doing was being rude!

 

As time when on, I could feel the frustration emanating from the less-talker as she would say, “Well, anyway” and go back to the story.  She was not going to get side-tracked, no matter how often she was interrupted, also rude in some contexts.  Eventually, the story was told, but I’m guessing less-talker did not feel good about it, and more-talker probably missed the entire point of the exercise.  Since my back was to them, I could grin with delight as I listened without offending them.  Poor less-talker needs to give her friend a lesson on boundaries.

 

I am not immune either.  My daughter and I speak a different language.  I speak American English, but I have no idea what language she speaks.  I just know the atmosphere is rife with potential miscommunication every time we speak.  I usually believe I was clear about my speech, but somehow, it gets all screwed up because she doesn’t speak the language.  How do you overcome this?  I don’t know, but it’s a lot of fun to watch in other people.  Not so fun to find oneself in the middle, however.  If these things did not happen in our fallen world, what would we watch on Television or laugh at??

 

 

Thank the Lord His communication is clear.  I want a show of keyboards hands – Who understands God’s Words completely?  Hmmmmmm.  Well, in this case, we know the problem is not His.  The problem is that we use our flitters filters when we talk to or listen to Him.  It helps to ask Him to make His word clear to us before we read the Bible or pray or listen to a sermon or read an article or ….   This is especially true with the Old Testament.

 

 

 

I used to believe God was always serious until I ‘heard’ Him laugh one day at a little ‘joke’ He was playing on us.  (See theTurkeyStory). 

 

 

 

Many young ladies (and old ones) have difficulty relating to God as Father because their own fathers were less than perfect.

 

 

 

Some have difficulty with the “obey Me” thing, projecting their feminism and/or independence onto God’s thoughts (men are not immune).

 

 

 

Communication

Communication (Photo credit: P Shanks)

♦What are some ways you flitter filter what you hear from God?  From others?

 

♦Do you enjoy the melodramas all around you as people seek to communicate without really having a clue how to speak to someone in their own language? 

 

♦Do you have any advice about how to remove your filters from your listening/communicating? 

 

♦Do you have a funny story to tell?  I’d love to hear it! 

 

♦Response is always in your court.  If you’re busy, just move on, but if you have something to say, here’s your chance.  🙂

 

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