The Good, The Pure & The Lovely

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

My boys can be sweet and kind. They can be loving and compassionate. They can be selfless and giving. Two little gifts from God who brighten their parent’s days with such joy.

And then they can be real kids.

They can be rude. They can be crude. They can be selfish. They can be little stinkers like no other.  They think the grossest things are funny and, if they were allowed, they absolutely would watch some vulgar things on TV.

I think it’s an innate trait in boys to want to watch or say or do the grossest things. I can’t even write about some of the things my youngest child thinks are funny. Let’s just say he has to wash his hands a lot.

But can’t we all be drawn to the things that are not pure and lovely? Don’t we love to gossip, don’t we love to hear about people who are on hard times, and if so, don’t we want to know all the dirty details? Don’t we get irritated at others and want to lash out, maybe aloud or just in our thoughts, allowing our minds to be poisoned by negativity.?

We love to slow down and take the whole car wreck in don’t we?

Jesus wants us to be concerned about others, but he certainly doesn’t want our thoughts to be down in the gutter with them.

I don’t think it’s just me. We all like to be drawn to the dark side, Star Wars style.

This week, I am challenging myself to think about all of the good things when the bad things start to invade my mind. When I feel angry, or annoyed or the urge to gossip, I want to stop, take a deep breath, and think about the good, the pure and the lovely.

Positive switch on. Negative switch off.

Speeding past the car wreck, washing my hands and changing the channel.

All at the same time.

I think I will be playing a whole lot more K LOVE this week.

 

 

 

 

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Be Still

The weather is always the one thing that can truly remind us how completely and totally dependent we are on our Father.  We can try and control every single aspect of our lives, right down to the friends we have, the jobs we do and the houses we own. Yet, in the end, if the storm is coming- it’s coming.

And we are all forced to do the same thing,  all at the exact same time.

Pray.

 

Tonight, my sweet boy crawled into my lap as a terrible storm rolled through. Worried about our safety, he couldn’t help from being afraid. I leaned down and softly told him to  whisper Jesus’ name, over and over again.

Sometimes that’s all we can do.

Sometimes we are too scared to pray. Sometimes it takes everything we can to just barely whisper His name. Sometimes all we can do is cling to a cross around our  neck and hope He can hear our cries from the inside.

Thankfully, He can and He does. He already knows all of our biggest worries and our strongest fears.

Through our faith in Jesus, we can learn to not be afraid.   Just as Jesus calmed the winds, we can tell our own fears, and our own worries, to go ahead and be still.

He is there to stop any storm, big or small.

Even the winds and the waves will obey Him.

Psalm 107:29
He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed.

 

 

New Shoes

When Brady was three years old, he would put on his little gray tennis shoes,stand in front of the TV and wait  for his favorite show Blue’s Clues to come on. He could not start the show until both of his little Velcro sneakers were completely on. The main character wore shoes and Brady had to wear them too. For some reason, he felt like he needed to be “dressed for the part.”

It is one of my fondest memories of him as a young boy. His cute little curls bobbing along as he danced to the music, getting excited about the smallest things. He was so innocent and sweet. The world not much larger than his own living room and Blue’s Clues.

He’s ten years old now. Not my  baby faced toddler anymore. Growing up so fast and my heart breaking a little bit every day as I watch him transform into a young man.

Still, some things  have remained the same. He is a sweet soul and those beautiful curls still grace his head. He can be easily excited about little things, his face lighting up and his arms waving around, making his mother’s heart melt.

And he still likes to put those shoes on.

The shoes are bigger now. And they aren’t for watching Blue’s Clues anymore. Basketball is the new passion in Brady’s life and it’s not just the shoes he has to put on to play. Brady likes to dress the entire part now. This means, before he can even play a game, he must put on his jersey, shorts and his shoes. With his shoes on , he feels as if he is walking in the footsteps of his favorite basketball players.

The shoes in his life might not always be basketball shoes.  They will change again and again, as my oldest son also changes, and grows into the man God wants Him to be.

I pray Brady will one day desire to walk in someone else’s footsteps. Someone who wore sandals and not tennis shoes.

Someone  who didn’t wear any shoes at all when He went barefoot to Calvary, His bare feet  nailed to a cross for us.

I don’t just pray this for Brady, but I pray this for myself as well.

Maybe one day we will all desire to wear His shoes.

Maybe one day we will all long to walk in His footsteps.

Maybe one day we will all be willing to dress the part.

1 Peter 2:21 
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

 

 

 

A New Kind of Craving

My cat Ali loves to spend my Bible time with me every morning. She jumps up on my dining room table purring and circling, trying to get as close to me as she physically can. This usually means she will  lay right on top of my bible, curled up in a little ball, waiting for me to pet her.

I think she is drawn to the softness of the Bible pages. They are cool and delicate and she could lay on them all day.Most mornings, I have to gently nudge her to the side so I can finish reading my verses.

I wish I craved being in the Word like my Ali Cat craves being on top of it.  I should never want to be apart from it either.  While there are many mornings I wake up and can’t wait to open it up, there are just as many other mornings when I am preoccupied with a million other things. A million other things that are just not as important as reading the most important words every written.

Let me be so into my Bible that it will cause others to wonder about its importance. They will want to nudge me over to the side so they  can marvel at its enduring  greatness.

Lord help me to crave it not just in the mornings but throughout the day as well. Help me to cast aside all of the non-significant things that take up my time and, instead, allow me to place Your Word at the center of my needs and wants.

I want to curl up in my Bible, feel its softness and let the Word comfort and revive my soul.

You are my refuge and my shield;
I have put my hope in your word.
Psalm 119:114

 

DANGER!!

***GUEST BLOGGER TONIGHT!*** My awesome husband is taking a turn!

We see the signs, we read them and we continue on our way. Yes, we see the the yellow light, the stop sign, the Do Not Enter, but these warnings are not what scare me, although I may need to rethink that!

I am speaking about the human instinct to NOT take responsibility for our sins and the danger that it leads to. Today my Sunday school lesson dealt with why we tend to do this and what we can do about it. I first want to say that I am the king of dishing out excuses for my lack of accountability of my own sin.  With that said, most of us, if we are being truthful, are in the same proverbial boat. It is easier to blame others or circumstances for our sinful behavior. We naturally think that we can hide our sin from God. Adam and Eve tried this and you know how that ended. It is the reason why we deal with sin today. So how do we recognize when this is happening?

First, when we sin, we always try to justify it or at least compare it to sins of others. We often claim that “If so and so hadn’t done this to me or that to me, then I would not have done this or that in return.” There it is, the DANGER sign!! We need to be truthful right then and there. We need to seek Jesus out and confess that once again we have fallen short. Trust me, HE already knows what we did! Secondly, if we understand that by us not taking responsibility we leave the door wide open for Satan to pounce on us. Yes, pounce like a lion in wait. He is a master at this game and he loves for us to make excuses and keep on sinning blindly.

What can you do? After all Romans says we all fall short and sin. True, but we also have the power of confession, repentance and forgiveness! We must confess, we must repent, and we must ask for forgiveness, plain and simple. When we sin, we commit a crime against our Savior, however, instead of death, He gives us life! He wants us to bring our shame to Him so He can fix it. Let Him be Him and let His glory, justice and love prevail. Yes, we will have consequences for our sins whether we confess them or not, He will see justice through even when we confess. But, if we confess and repent, He will clean your slate and not give us what we truly deserve.

Remember, being guilty is not a death sentence.

Not repenting is.

I hope you find this useful and the next time I am a special guest writer we will talk about wanting to be guilty, it ain’t all that bad, but you will have to tune in to understand what I mean!! Thanks!

 

 

Righteously Annoyed

My sweet husband has been teaching an interesting Sunday School series on righteous anger for the last couple of weeks. To be righteously angry means we have a right to be angry over sin. However, we can’t partake in the act of sinning when or if we respond to it.While I have enjoyed discussing the topic immensely, I am getting a little tired of him throwing out those two words “righteous anger” whenever I get annoyed about things in our daily lives!! He is just kidding of course. I don’t get righteously angry at the person driving in front of me too slowly or the person who doesn’t give me the little divider thing in the check out line.

So then what about being righteously annoyed?

I think this is where most Christians are. We are all still very human and, man, there are things that can still get on our everlasting nerves. How do we remain set apart when sometimes all you want to do is give in and respond to the annoyance?

First- Pray for patience. Sometimes, I need to take a couple of deep breaths when something is truly agitating me. During these moments, I am so thankful for scripture. I can recite it and it can truly calm me down instantly.

Whoever is patient has great understanding,
but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.
Proverbs 14:29

Well I don’t want to display folly ever.

Second- Keep It Shut. Thank you Karen Ehman for this book. I have learned so many important lessons from reading it and having a bible study with wonderful ladies who helped me to understand the benefits of keeping my mouth closed. Basically, if something is annoying you and you feel the need to respond-pray before you say it. I guarantee- nine times out of ten- you will end up biting your tongue.

Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.  Proverbs 21:23 

Third- Pray for understanding and perspective. It’s all a matter of perspective. Life is hard, people come from a million different backgrounds with a million different stories. We are all messed up in our own beautiful, lovely way. That’s the beauty of being a Christian. Jesus loves us anyways and it’s our duty to love others as He loves us. He was the only perfect Man. I’m sure I can get on lots of people’s nerves. No need to comment on this Landon.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:7
Even the man driving behind you too closely. Even the cyclist holding up ten cars on a two lane road. Even the woman who stole your parking spot.
I’m sensing a theme here.
Maybe I just need to give up on driving all together?

 

Snow Days

The magic and excitement of a Snow Day can wear off quickly at my house. The young natives start to grow restless after a few hours. I only have so many tricks up my sleeves and after playing Monopoly, Hide and Go seek and charades with them, they are still BORED. Of course, the thought of curling up with a good book is pure torture to them. Watching a movie? Nope. Not fun. I don’t even suggest my favorite snow day activity-a nap. They would definitely look at me like I had two heads.

So they become whiny.

Grumpy.

Absolutely infuriating.

Pretty soon their Snow Day excitement has melted away into all out arguments and frustrating fights.

I start thinking I am ready to go back to work.

I still love those two little bright eyed boys though. No matter how much they drive me crazy with their normal kid behavior, I will always love them with nothing less than a bursting heart. Even in the midst of the fists flying and the basketball crashing into the bookshelves.

I’m so glad Jesus still loves me with a full heart too. I know I can be whiny, grumpy and absolutely infuriating. I am selfish and I am incredibly stubborn.  I like to do what I want to do when I want do it.

He loves me just the same.

No, in fact, His heart is more than bursting.  He rejoices over us continuously. He loves us more than we will ever know. His heart is full of a love we can’t even physically comprehend.

Even when we feel like we are unlovable.

Even when we mess up over and over again.

Even when the entire world seems against us.

His love will never melt away.

Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.