Wednesday Matters- January 29, 2020
Everyday Roll Up Your Issues on Jesus
My nephew played D1 hockey and was enrolled in a tough Ivy League School. So each week I’d encourage him with scripture and how to apply it and persevere. Proverbs 16:3 was one that was impacting, "Roll up your works upon the Lord, commit and trust them wholly to Him; and He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and so shall your plans be established and succeed." Here's what I told him I pictured with the verse.
I lay a sleeping bag out on the floor and I put all the things that are weighing me, frustrating me, and making me anxious or depressed. I lay down my issues and then I roll up the sleeping and put it on the shoulders of Jesus. And as I really do this, I mean really surrender, He begins to put in my heart & head the purpose and the plan He has for me. He gives me grace and strength to "let go" so that my thoughts become agreeable to His will. God’s way works as long as I let Him in…everyday.
Tuesday Matters- January 28, 2020
Everyday Pride Stinks
I was stinky. Oh I had taken a shower but I had pride and pride stinks. Pride is difficult to deal with because we don’t think we have it. I notice this stink most when I have zero patience with someone who’s hurt me. In the Bible in James 4:10 I read to ask God to humble me so I can see the other as He does. I know then He will lift me up as He promises.
The signs of pride include an unwillingness to admit fault or take responsibility for our actions. Pride wants to do all the talking and none of the listening. Yeah, I know you’re probably thinking of someone who needs to hear this, but it may be you! God gets you. He sees the hurt. I get you because I’ve been there. Are you still screaming? Maybe it’s time to stop and, “shhhhh… listen.” Humility is a sweet fragrance for everyone to be around…everyday.
Monday Matters-January 27, 2020
Everyday When the Answer is NO
Hearing our children’s first words are memorable such as, “Dada,” “Nana,” “Puppy” or “Ball,” as was the first word of our third son but the word “NO” is also among those first words coming in strong. “Joey look at Mama’s belly. There’s a baby inside,” I told our two year old when I was nine months pregnant. “Ah NO, Mama that’s a ball,” stated Joey and he stood by his logical word choice. “No,” isn’t always a fun word to hear from our children but “no” is an important word in being an adult. Maybe there’s ugly gossip about you but you know it’s not true so you need to remember, “NO, that’s not who God says I am,” or “No, I cannot take on another volunteer position at school.”
Jesus mostly used the word “no” when speaking to the religious leaders who were trying to boss everyone around. He came to fulfill the law by His grace, not by giving us more rules. We’re all God’s children and “no” is a useful word when used appropriately…everyday.
Friday Matters- January 24, 2020
Everyday Honest Acceptance of Self
When I honestly accepted who God said I was, loved, redeemed and not a mistake, I felt I could stop pretending and performing. I need Him desperately. It is not the “they” who are poor, sinful and lost. It’s awareness that we ourselves are the primary target.
Unless we acknowledge that we are the sinners, the sick ones and the lost sheep for whom Jesus came, we do not belong to the “blessed” who know that they are poor and inherit the Kingdom. Do you ever try and appear righteous before God and others with your performance. I have and it’s exhausting. It’s a dangerous zone when get our assurance from wealth or our status. Oh my goodness…”they” is me, wretched, pitiably poor and so often blind. When I begin to think, “I’m doing really well here,” Isaiah 64 keeps me on track, “We’re all unclean and all our righteous acts are like filthy garbage. It’s what Jesus did on the cross that cleans us up and sets us free…everyday.
Thursday Matters- January 23, 2020
Everyday Emotional Sickness
Ya know how sometimes you get physically sick, like the flu and it's not because you're not reading the Bible enough or doing enough acts of service, you just get sick. Well sometimes you get emotionally sick and it’s not because you’re a “bad Christian.” There can be all kinds of factors that play into all kindness of sicknesses like lack of sleep, an infection, a damaged relationship and sometimes we need medication to get well. It’s okay.
Remember that no matter what emotional or physical state you’re in, God loves you as you are. We’ll go through challenging seasons where it doesn't make sense but it’s in the hard places where we grow. God tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “that His strength is perfected in our weakness. “ Sometimes the hardest thing to do is just let go and let God take care of us or by asking someone for help or taking medication. He works in many different ways and through many different people. In every place and time He wants you to know how much He loves and values you…everyday.
Wednesday Matters- January 22, 2020
Everyday Best Friends
“We’re best friends now!” that’s my “go-to” line when I’ve connected with someone in a significant way. I take a “selfie” with the person too and get their information to stay connected. Gigi and I are best friends now too. I met her at a retreat and like all people she had to story to tell.
Gigi shared her wild child past living in Brazil and as I listened to her I found what is true with so many others, we make harmful choices when we live in darkness and hopelessness. I know that there’s hope no matter who we are and what we’ve been through and that’s what pulled Gigi out of her pit. There was hope, there was Jesus who knew and knows and loves her as she is. Our past does not have to define our future. Our best friends are those who know that the hope is there and His name is Jesus…everyday.
Tuesday Matters- January 21, 2020
Everyday You will come through Storms
“I honestly don’t think I can make it through another day. I just don’t.” Ever feel like that? So the storm in your life is of hurricane proportions because maybe its finances, or failed marriage. You FEEL overwhelmed, like you might drown. Perhaps you have a burning pain in your heart because your child is addicted to drugs or maybe it’s an aging parent who can’t remember who you are. You may FEEL consumed by these fiery trials. Your feelings are valid. BUT the truth is you'll come through. He sees. He knows. He cares.
He speaks a promise from Isaiah 43:2, "When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you." And perhaps what you’re going through is not about breaking you but about the breakthrough you’ve been waiting for. God often uses bad things for a later good…everyday.
Monday Matters-January 20, 2020
Everyday Ask God First
I imagine when the future King David is dodging Saul, who’s hot on his trail to destroy him; he’s just like, “Really, can I just get a break here God?” God is on David’s side and no longer on Saul’s because Saul has walked away from God. David gets wind of Saul’s plans to kill him, his men and others in a town if David plans on going there. And I’m thinking as I read the story in 1 Samuel that David can certainly go to the town and then ask God for protection. BUT instead David FIRST prays and asks God; “Will Saul destroy the town and will the people hand me over to Saul?” The Lord simply replies; “He will and they will,” so David goes back into hiding.
I was really struck by this; thinking how often I do the opposite. I decide on my plans and then ask God to bless me rather than asking for God’s direction first. Wisdom is going to God first because He always knows the best plan…everyday.
Friday Matters- January 17, 2020
“Dan, c’mon, please pay the bill. My allowance won’t cover it.” I was at my husband’s office asking for grace as I handed him the bill from spending too much at J. Crew Catalog. Whew…he forgave and paid the bill. I was relieved. But when I went home I discovered that a stick of butter, my special cake plate and a container of frosting was missing. I knew my nephew had baked a cake while I was away so I called and scolded him for not replacing my supplies.
When I hung up the phone I realized I was acting like the ungrateful servant in Matthew 18. A king was about to punish this servant for a debt of millions but instead had pity and forgave. But was this servant grateful? No, he instantly found his friend who owed him a few thousand and when instant payment wasn’t given he had the man thrown in prison. Okay, so I got the memo. God gives fresh mercy to us each day so how can we afford to withhold mercy from others who need it too…everyday.
Thursday Matters- January 16, 2020
Everyday Real Life
In one simple month all of life seemed to fall apart. Brandon had lost his job, the family’s golden retriever had died and Brandon’s wife was back at the clinic again to try new antibiotics to combat her bronchitis. God where are you? If He loves us won’t He take the pain away or at least some of it? Remember God is always with us and He isn’t surprised by what’s happening. Everything must pass through His hands first. Sometimes a tragedy is where we meet God for the first time. We must lose religion, where it’s all about rules and proving ourselves, and instead rest in a personal relationship with God who knows exactly what we’re going through and how to take care us. Jesus working through us and not focusing on our own works or man’s laws is what’s important. God always loves us. He will not fail us. Grasp hold of His grace and mercy with both hands to find hope…everyday.