Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Thought-closet Makeover?

I just finished this great Bible Study by Jennifer Rothschild. It's all about having a "thought closet" makeover.  Do you know that so much of what you say and how you act is determined by the thoughts that you allow in your mind?   We have all believed so many lies about ourselves, our God, our families and friends...We have filled our closet with the dirty garments of
past failures, the ill-fitting outfits of others' expectations, and the constrictive suits of our own self-judgements.  We hoard bins of "what ifs", dark secrets, accepted lies, and debilitating insecurities. We daily wear these stained, outdated and poorly fitting clothes, never realizing that God has a better wardrobe for us.  His truth wants to shed light into our closets so that we replace our dirty rags for His thoughts - His love, acceptance, grace, purposes, and truth!  When we accepted His gift of Salvation, we became new creations!  When we cling to our old labels and clothe ourselves in our former wardrobes, we demean what He did for us and devalue His workmanship.  Eph. 2:10 says He created us specially to do the good works He planned for us! You are not bound by your past, your failures, your lack, your insecurities, or anything else. You are a Princess, loved by your King with a love that never fails or ends.  You have a new wardrobe in your closet that He designed just for you - it's full of potential, power, and beauty.  Throw away the old stuff - do spring cleaning in a big way - and get out there in your new outfits.  You are meant to shine!! 
(Thanks, Jennifer!  Your study touched my life in a big way!)

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Beginnings

My Aunt Almeda loves spring.  She loves how it is a renewing of life and a beautiful rebirthing of nature.  She also loves the special significance of Easter - how it is the reminder of all that we Christians hold so close to our hearts. Jesus came, lived, died, and lived again so that we could do the same!  Death isn't our final chapter, but a transition into a life more amazing and eternal!
Spring is also a favorite of mine.  Oregon spring is a constant reminder that God is in the renewal business.  The trees that looked so dead burst forth with leaves and flowers. Dirt patches along fences and roads spring to life with daffodils and other "treasures" that have hidden themselves from the snow and ice! It's a beautiful time of year. God loves to illustrate His love and care for us by providing us with these natural examples. He takes His children, who have been trampled under foot by others or have been hiding from the harsh realities of life, and gives them strength to bloom in their world. He takes what looked dead and causes new life to shine.  He takes brokenness and turns it into wholeness. He takes timidity and fear, and replaces it with boldness and courage. He allows seasons of rest and inactivity to be replaced with new direction and new energy, which then results in growth and life-sustaining fruit that others can partake of!
New a small child, Easter meant new shoes, a beautiful new dress, gloves, and even a cute hat.  As an adult, Easter means once more replacing our filthy rags stained with sin and sadness with beautiful new garments of freedom, peace, and joy! Today can be your new beginning.  No matter where you are or where you've come from, allow the Son to renew and refresh your life.  You can make today the start of something wonderful!   

Monday, April 18, 2011

Our Father Knows Best!

I love this picture...for several reasons. It makes me smile every time I see it. It also reminds me of a very similar picture of Izzy that was taken as I was feeding him Squash for the first time (at his parents' urging!).He looked at me with utter scorn and disbelief at how a Grammy that claimed to love him could feed him something so disgusting!!
 It serves to remind me, too, of how sometimes God tries to give me something that I should love or that is very good for me, and yet I turn my nose up at it and shudder in horror! We are so quick to decide if we want something or not that often we miss out on something really wonderful just because we're stubborn. 
I was just reminded yesterday of a ministry that I have come to really enjoy. When I was first approached, my answer was "No Way, Never,..." After a series of battles, both with myself and the Lord, I finally gave in and discovered that I LOVE doing it. It fulfills something in me that I can't get any other way. "You won't know if you like it until you try it", my mom used to say!
God is an amazing God and certainly does know best. When He gives me something, whether it looks like something I want or not, my response need to be "Thank You, Lord" & nothing else because I know that everything He gives me is Good - one way or another! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Greater Thing

I have been focusing alot lately on an upcoming birthday, partly because of dear friends and loved ones that have recently gone home to be with the Lord & partly just because it is "a big one" - a milestone of sorts.  As I sat this morning reading my Bible, a verse jumped out at me. Psalm 119:37 says, "Keep me from looking at worthless things. Let me live by Your Word." What are those worthless things that I tend to give so much attention to?  Injustices done to those I love, physical imperfections and character flaws that I struggle with, stresses of daily living, hurts and disappointments of days past, fear of future failures...there can be so many things that tend to turn our hearts away from our true purpose!  God created us, designed us, redeemed us, and equipped us to do "works of service the He planned beforetime that we should do" ( Eph. 2:10). He gave us His light and His Spirit not so that we could be proud or falsely humble, but so that we could live to glorify Him (Matt. 5:16)!  After all, it's not the number of days we're here on earth that matters, but what we do with each day He gives us that truly counts!  While living in this body, I will always have to redirect my thoughts and my focus but may the Lord help me to discern when worthless things have captured my attention so that I can give the greater part of my daily life & attention to the Greater thing - a life of praising and glorifying God by true obedience and loving service!

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Life is full of distractions - things that get in the way of what God calls us to do or that take our focus off of Him.  Someone once said that the problem with life is that it's so daily.  As Christians, we often get so busy that we forget that our main purpose on this earth is to glorify God and to help others get to know Him. We play church once a week, more as a social activity than a time to truly worship, and we fill our lives with "good things", inching out the really important activities of prayer, Bible study, and worship/ praise and witnessing. Our daily struggles sidetrack us and our busy lives rush us from one season to the next, over and over. The years race by and pretty soon we're looking back, wondering where the time went! Let's take a breath, find a quiet spot and a quiet time, and reevaluate how we're spending our days!
It will be worth it when God can actually call us His good and faithful servants...

Lord, help me to take a good hard look at what fills my days, what I'm accomplishing for Your kingdom, and what I need to reprioritize in order to do what You've called me to do. I don't want to get to the end of my earthly journey and have regrets or have You show me what would have been possible if only my focus had remained true.