Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Critical Christian

When I venture outside my circle of friends and acquaintances I am often surprised at the negative attitude toward Christians. I have been thinking about this for quite a while and I think that we often don't live our lives in a way that reflects our faith.

So many of us live outwardly Christian lives only on Sunday and live fully engulfed in the ways of the world the remainder of the week. What a horrible witness this is to those around us. We aren't asked to be perfect, but we can't live our lives as hypocrites and expect people to come to know Jesus as their savior through our living example. We are his public relations team. I don't want to be the one to give the boss a bad reputation. He died for me, the least I could do is behave in a manner that is not embarrassing to the faith.

For example, I had have had a couple encounters with a woman who is a pastor's wife. I will admit I do not know her well, but I have found her to be snippy, bossy and critical of everything around her. I have never seen her inside the walls of her husband's church, but the person who lives outside those walls is not in any way, shape or form setting a Christian example of loving kindness. I have seen people try to join groups or committees within churches and other organizations that have new ideas get crushed because the person in charge won't let his or her ego step aside for a moment to listen. We are suppose to give up ourselves and live for Christ. We are suppose to put others needs before our own and love one another above all else. Why is this such a difficult thing to do?

It is difficult because we are sinful human beings by nature. We live in a world full of messages to look out for number one, to put yourself first and to step on everyone who gets in your way. I have a critical nature, I do, I will admit that an unkind thought will often be the first thing to come to the surface of my mind. I have to constantly monitor this in myself. My mother (I love you, Mom) has a critical nature as well so I come by it honestly. As I have grown in my faith, I have tried to keep my snippy little thoughts to myself because I don't want to raise a third generation of critical women. This has gotten much easier for me the more I have put it into practice, but I have to remain mindful of it. It does not surprise me how many Proverbs there are about controlling your tongue. We can inflict so much damage with our words. It is far better to remain silent.

As we move from our month of being thankful to a month of that is typically spent being busy, be mindful of how your words and actions reflect your faith. Be ever mindful of your status as a child of God and represent His love to others in word and in deed.

In His Peace  -

A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.
(Proverbs 11:12)
He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.
(Proverbs 21:23)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful Thursday #4

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving day. I do hope you take time to count your blessings and remember the men and women in the armed forces who are sacrificing time with their loved ones in order to protect our freedoms.

God Bless you on this day of thanks and every day.

In His Peace - 

With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD (Ezra 3:11)

I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. (Psalm 69:30)

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. (Psalm 100:4)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday 2011 #3

I gotta tell you that my first thought as I typed in my title was "How on earth did it get to be the 3rd Thursday in November already?!" Time is fleeting, my friends!

Thankful Thursday again and I have intended on writing more this month than I have been, but that plate full of responsibilities keeps getting in my way. Since I do try to be a responsible citizen, employee, mother and spouse, I feel I have to take care of all those first and do my stuff later. The perils of womanhood! Raise your hand if you tend to put yourself last! Uh-huh, thought so. You can put your hand down now, maybe stop and pat yourself on the back on the way down. ; )

This week I have been focusing on being thankful for practical things. I am thankful for running water and hot showers. I am thankful for modern appliances that make household chores so much easier than it was for my ancestors -- I would have made a horrible pioneer woman! I am thankful for the electronic gadgets that keep me connected to my friends and my family. I will admit I am thankful for my iPhone, it is one of my favorite gadgets. I am thankful for the heated seats in my car and the food in my cupboards. We are richly blessed in more ways than I can count.

This week we have been packing our shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. We have been using our gifts to pass blessings on to others. We have been doing this for several years and the kids really enjoy shopping to fill the boxes for other kids. I hope it is something they will continue to do long after they leave home. If you are interested in participating in this program it isn't too late. Check their website for a drop box location near you!

I do hope you have been taking a look around you over the past few weeks and counting the blessings big and small in your own life.

I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
(1 Corinthians 9:23 NIV)

In His Peace -

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday, Everyone!

As I look at my calendar I am wondering how it is possible that Thanksgiving is only two weeks away. Where did 2011 go? Did I blink? How have we gotten this far through a year? Didn't we just start this year? My mother was absolutely correct when she told me that time moves faster the older you get!!

Thankful Thursday has arrived. Have you been sharing your thankfulness on a daily basis? I have been keeping up with that fairly well. I did forget yesterday, but I posted twice today. I figured that would count!

My goal to clean things out and pass them on to others in need has not been realized. I have worked on it, but have not gotten as far as I would have liked over the past week. I am not giving up hope that this will be accomplished before the month was over.

I did have the opportunity to do some shopping for the food pantry at our church which was great. It didn't feel like much to me, but the need is great and what I could bring them was enthusiastically received.

For this second Thursday of November I would like to be thankful for people who step up and volunteer. If you volunteer your time and talents in any way,  Thank you. Almost every organization I have ever been involved with has been in need of volunteers. Finding people with the time, energy and personal commitment it takes to help out is difficult. This makes those of you who step forward and say, "I'll take care of that!" all the sweeter. I know that sometimes you may feel under-appreciated, but know that without volunteers, many organizations would not survive. If you volunteer in any capacity, big or small; in your community, church or school, please give yourself a pat on the back and take a bow while I applaud you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. (Colossians 3:23 NIV)

 Have a great week!

 In His Peace -

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Hello Friends!

November has arrived again! I would like to use this month to challenge you to be thankful. We started a thankfulness challenge last year with great success. The idea is simple, post to Facebook once a day about something you are thankful for. I was happy to see many of my Facebook friends step up with a thankfulness post on November first without being reminded and am delighted to see more of my friends posting a daily thankfulness blurb than I saw last year. Toss a thankfulness challenge out to your Facebook or Twitter friends and see if you can create your own ripple of thankfulness.  I am hopeful that if we all spend a little more time reflecting on how much we have and how good we have it, that we won't buy into the spending frenzy that occurs in December.

We live an abundant life. If you live in the United States of America, even if you are struggling financially, you are more wealthy and healthy than about 60% of the world's population. However, there are people in our own country and in our own communities that are struggling to meet their day to day needs. Personally, I look around my house and I know that I could get rid of about half of the stuff that lies within these walls and never miss any of it. I hope to spend some time this month cleaning out and packing up to pass our excess on to someone who is in need.

As we look around and within us and focus on what we are thankful for this month, I would like you to take that a step further. I would like you to look outside of your circle of comfort and do something to help someone else. Pass along your abundance and your gratefulness to someone else who needs it. There are so many simple ways to help others from dropping off donated food items to cleaning out gutters for an elderly neighbor. You simply need to open your eyes and your heart to opportunities around you.

My goal is to post a weekly thankfulness post here each Thursday for Thankful Thursday along with a daily Facebook post. Please join me and encourage your friends as well. I would love to hear how you are doing as the month progresses.

We are made to live an abundant life, abundant in Christ's love, not in possessions.

 Luke 12:15: Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

In His Peace- 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Beyond the Busyness

Hello Blog World!

I have missed you. My sincere apologies for being absent for so long. My writing time, and sleeping time for that matter, is being sucked away by a myriad of other responsibilities. I hate it when the things I love to do get pushed aside by the things that I have to do!

However, today is Five Minute Friday, created by Gypsy Mama. The rules are:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Most importantly: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!

Today's Topic: BEYOND

 I figure I have 8 minutes before I have to officially be to work, I can do 5 minute Friday! 

Beyond this short time of chaos in coordinating kids schedules that feels a little crazy is a time when my kids are all grown up and this day to day stuff is over and my purpose in life will be vastly different. I will not long for this beyond but live in the now. If I have to choose between time spent with my kids and time keeping up appearances, I am choosing the kids.

Beyond today is perhaps a day where my desk will be clear and my house will be clean. It won't be today, but I hold out hope for a tomorrow where I will be caught up.

The Bible gives us many examples of living beyond our abilities. God's Word tells us that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear. We should also not boast beyond proper limits (confining our boasting only to God's glory). When we are pressured beyond what we feel we can bear, we are comforted in knowing that God is there, especially when times are tough.

I find great comfort knowing that when the ugliness, hatred, greed, apathy and contempt that is so prevalent in our world today, gets too much to face.... that beyond the here and now is the promise of a new heaven and a new earth and a new life with Jesus. Oh, Glory how I long for you!

What do you hope for in the Beyond? Set the clock and link up!

Have a blessed Friday! Hope to see you again soon!!

In His Peace --

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blessed weekends!

I love the weekend. Most of them are refreshing, some are exhausting, but this one was just right. I feel a little like Goldielocks saying that!

Saturday was spend with some dear sisters in Christ at a local simulcast for Living Proof Live with Beth Moore. As we drove to the site we discussed how much we NEEDED some good Jesus time. He met us there and we are so thankful.

Beth Moore is a phenomenal Bible teacher. I love the way she humbles herself before she speaks, on her knees before everyone, beseeching the Lord to overcome all her human frailties and use her as a conduit to reach His people. I waffle between wishing like I could teach like her and being thankful I don't have the responsibility of doing so.

What was amazing to me, aside from Beth's obvious gift to bring a Word and the praise team's gift for music (I love Travis Cottrell), was the mind boggling thought that 180,000 other individuals across the globe were listening to the same message. Not only listening, but knowing that each was receiving exactly the Word that God intended for them to hear. Ponder that for a moment. Reminds me of Pentacost, granted, I saw no tongues of fire, but I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit was working just as miraculously in all 180,000 present.

I often wonder if the non-Christians who work these events walk away as changed as we are changed, or at least with the seed of the Sprit inside them.

One moment I will never forget, was not at this simulcast but at a live Living Proof I attended several years ago, when they asked if anyone wanted to come forth for prayer one woman ran down front as if her very life depended on it. I suppose if she was coming forth to claim her salvation her very life DID depend on it. It was such a powerful moment to me. I have no idea who she was, but I thought that if we all ran to Jesus the way she ran to Jesus we would all be much more at peace with our lives.

So I am feeling a little less empty welled than I entered the weekend. Today I got to sleep in a little and we attended late church. Pastor had a very appropriate sermon on forgiveness. We had some delightful fellowship at the potluck after service and we got to come home and take a nap. Gotta love a Sunday like that. : )

I hope and pray that you were also refreshed this weekend and you will start the work week full of a joyful spirit.

In His Peace -

Friday, September 9, 2011

5 Minute Friday

Gypsy Mama today from (in)Courage presents this challenge:  sit down, write 5 minutes unedited, unscripted on the topic of In Real Life...

Fellow blogger, Allison,wrote a beautiful blog this morning about her Real Life. I thought I could take a few minutes and follow her example, however, I am feeling neither beautiful nor inspirational this morning.  Perhaps it is because I am coming off a second night of shorted sleep and am tired,  or it just because it is Friday, but I am feeling the weight of the world today.

Real life for me often feels separate from my Jesus life. I know they should be one in the same, but sometimes the the craziness of being a responsible adult are just too much. I am scattered in so many directions and I struggle with being able to keep my eyes on Jesus. This time of year when I have been away from Bible study for several months it is particularly difficult. It makes me painfully aware of the need for staying in the Word.

Tomorrow I get to step away from my responsible self and take the day off to attend a Beth Moore simulcast here in town. I am soooo excited to do this with my sister-friends from church. My well is dry and I am desperate for the clear crisp water from the well-spring that is Jesus to fill me up.

I encourage you all to find time to spend at His feet. Real life is a real bummer if you are trudging on your own accord. I plan on throwing myself at His feet and staying there, because I know in order to survive real life I need Jesus.