February 25 – He Sees and Knows

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I can be guilty of having temper tantrums from time to time. And although I am not proud of it, they tend to encroach upon me just about the time things are going pretty good. Sometimes, all Hades breaks loose and I find myself questioning God as to “why,” but not so much anymore. I’ve lived long enough to know it’s usually darkest before the dawn and if you just hold on awhile, things will get brighter.

What tends to trigger the oversized baby in me is a sense of not being understood by those closest to me. Here’s an example: I have a certain way I fold my t-shirts. Not a big deal, normally, but definitely a preference.

On most occasions I am just grateful when Jen or one of the children goes the extra mile and does mine. But there are those rare moments when that little voice says, “If they really cared about you, they would know how you like your shirts folded.” If I don’t nip it in the bud, that kind of thinking will hit me in the backside before I know it, leaving a whole lot of precious people feeling unappreciated. I know, you can’t relate…

The fact of the matter is every human being can and will feel that no one truly understands them at times. And guess what? They are right! We are so unique and our ways are very individual. God made us that way on purpose. One, a puzzle won’t come together if all the pieces are just alike. And two, if we had someone on planet earth that knew us “picture-perfectly,” we would never need to seek the face of our Creator. He alone knows and sees who we are and where we are headed. All others are His instruments to help get us there.

I love how Nathanael said to Jesus, “How do You know me?” Jesus wasted no time on frivolous introductions, He spoke in a way the man would know He knew him; but how? And here’s the nugget I encourage you to ponder with me and my family today: Jesus stares into Nathanael’s eyes and He says, “I see you! And I know you better than anyone, including yourself. Don’t worry; what I see in you doesn’t change what I think about you. So, if you feel the need to have a pity party, no problem; fits don’t faze Me. I’ll still be around when the smoke clears. Then, I will remind you that in Me alone lies perfection, not people.” He sees!

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you. John 1:47-48 NKJV

 Biblical Meditation: Psalms 139:1-4 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. (Check out all of Psalm 139!)

 

February 19 – Get Back Up Again

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I got on the scales the other day and man, was I surprised! I hadn’t weighed in a year and my workout schedule has been a little sporadic, to say the least. I’ve been running and I’ve been swimming. But I haven’t been consistent.

Though I’m not a fanatic about working out, I know if I plan on being around in good health any length of time, it is necessary. All my life, I’ve never really put on much weight, so I didn’t really consider that to be the reason for my pants getting snug. (!) Nonetheless, the extra pounds snuck up on me.

Accomplishing anything of value will require the steady stream of tenacity. No matter how instantaneous success might seem, nothing significant happens overnight. It takes years of root development for a mighty oak to be able to stand strong in the midst of a raging winter storm. The same is true for you and me.

And with all the planning and persistence you can muster, there will be days when you lose your grip and start to slip helplessly out of control. The tiger indeed gets you by the tail. That’s when grace comes in: you rise again to regain your strength, and once more, begin.

For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity. Proverbs 24:16 New International Version

Biblical Meditation: 1 Timothy 4:8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 

                                                                                February 15 – Time Keeps On Ticking                             

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Each day I live I am so reminded of the preciousness of time. My kids are working on scrapbooks, and on a regular basis they show me pictures of days gone by when they were younger. Wow, I think to myself. Where did the time go? In my mind those days aren’t so far removed, but the photos tell a different story.

Whether I like it or not, time keeps on “ticking” and if I don’t manage my share of it, I’ll be the one taking the “licking.” I can’t count the times a wise soul over 70 has confessed to not making the most of every moment when they had the time and were physically able. What’s interesting is meeting older folks who began to view time as a “score card” early on in their life. They are as active now as they were 40 years ago. Why? How? I think they built a habit of time-management so they wouldn’t burn out.

Procrastination comes naturally for most of us. Many times early on in my life I would finish a project at the last minute and not think twice about it. But an intense desire to fulfill my God-given purpose has caused me to get His perspective on how to maximize each moment. And over the years I have found that this can only be accomplished when a person has an intense desire to get the most out of every minute.

Otherwise, human nature kicks in and we waste time and settle for mediocrity. Make no mistake about it, treating time as a resource and managing it takes effort just like anything else. But it is a commodity that grows in value year after year.

There is hardly anything that compares to being able to look back over a year and see that you were able to capture precious moments with your kids, go on dates with your spouse, consistently spend face-time with God, and give the ol’ body a daily workout. I am convinced, we all want to be resourceful, but life has a way of getting in the way…if we let it. Stop letting life steal your moments. It’s time to make your time your own!

Jenny 🙂

Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Ephesians 5:16 New Living Translation

 Biblical Meditation: Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

 

 

February 8 – Order in the House!

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Many times as a parent I come across areas that need attention in my own life. This has proven true so many times that I’ve come to believe this is the primary reason for God giving us children. My parents refer to this as “paying for your raising!” Orderliness is one of these areas for me.

Recently, I walked through my boys’ room, and to my surprise (HA), the place had exploded once again. Automatically, I started to let them have it. “How many times do I have to get on to you boys about this room? This place looks like a tornado hit it! Now get it back together!” And I meant every word of it.

Then, as God would have it, I immediately walked back into my OWN room, only to find my closet strangely resembling my boys’ room. OUCH. How did this happen? I know full well how necessary order is in our life, and yet I found myself once again “behind on the basics.” Maybe you can relate.

And if so, there is great news. God never reveals what He, with your help, can’t heal. This is true with any issue we face. So I didn’t take much time whining over my shortcomings. I simply admitted them to myself, AND my boys. I had dropped the ball. And from there, I didn’t spend another moment beating myself up, NOR did I let myself off the hook by making an excuse.

 I believe as long as we are on this planet, we will all have adjustments to make. So, if you are human, there is a possibility you have some unorganized areas to fix. Order is the key component to anything God has set before you.

But don’t panic. If anyone understands our challenges, He does. And He’s already made provision for our lack of vision. So before we can say “help,” wisdom and comfort will come running to meet us.

Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40 NKJV

Biblical Meditation: Matthew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said, With men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God.

 

February 6 – Playing Second Fiddle

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I heard a story once of a man who would travel to towns where a well-known evangelist of the time was scheduled to have a series of meetings.

It was said that this man would cover his own expenses for days on end just to pray in his hotel room, morning and evening for the will of the Lord to be done in that town. When the evangelist arrived, the man moved on to the next town.

It wasn’t important to him that people knew his name or even why he came. What mattered most was that he fulfilled what the Lord had given him to do.

This morning, I just had a conversation with one of my “extroverted” children. He isn’t bashful and loves to be in the center of the action. And at times, his desire to be the front guy takes precedence over just taking out the trash. But taking out the trash and picking up the random pieces of paper on the way to the dumpster qualifies us for greater tasks ahead.

That doesn’t mean that if God calls upon us to pick up trash for Him the rest of our days that we are lesser than the dignitaries who travel after us on clean streets.

On the contrary, it means we know how to be willing and obedient to the leading of the Master. In my estimation, maturity is reached when His kingdom coming and His will being done means more to us than fame, fortune or even a great name.

May the Lord help us rejoice in our lot, our spots of service, whether bottom or top in the eyes of the world. May our gaze rest on what He sees and not on our own need for value and validation.

And at the end of the day, may we hear His voice alone say, “You done good, my child, you done real good. Well done!”

 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan where John was baptizing. John 1:24-28

 Biblical Meditation: 1 Timothy 6:6 [And it is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for] godliness accompanied with contentment (that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency) is great and abundant gain.

 

February 2 – Every Day Counts

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“Repent, forgive, and believe… quickly.” I heard a man make this statement many years ago, and I still remember it.

It seems that those three commands can be easily bypassed in our day-to-day lives. Noah was a beautiful example of a person who took the directions of God and ran with them. We’re not sure exactly how many years passed from the time he built the ark and the time the flood came.

At the very most, around 100 years passed by. And yet, we see no record of the wickedness on the earth turning around for the better. Many years went by and no one was moved to follow Noah’s example of righteousness.

I believe that our physical, mental, and spiritual health all hinge on these commands. Repent, forgive, and believe, quickly. In the six hundredth year, second month, and seventeenth day of Noah’s life, the curtains of water fell.

And time ran out. God was speaking through Noah and his actions all of those many years. We are again in the “days of Noah.” Regardless of the moment of Jesus’ return to earth, our world is filled with signs that point to His coming.

Just like the days before the floodwaters came, it can be easy to ignore the landmarks all around us. God is gracious and full of mercy as we turn to Him and hand over the reins of our life. Let us follow in the footsteps of Noah, and may we let others know that every day counts.

Jen 🙂

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. Genesis 7:11, 12

Biblical Meditation: Matthew 24:36-39 No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

January 31 – What Is “Acceptable?”

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There seems to be two ways to look at most things in life. What we accept and what we don’t. It just boils down to those two options. Whether you are looking at fixing a house, disciplining your children, or detailing your car, it’s important to know what is acceptable to you, preferably based on God’s Word.

I remember a time when you could eat off the floor of my little Honda Accord when I was 18 years old. Well, God has provided a new and better little Accord, but frankly, you couldn’t pay me to eat off the floor now! I have experienced a shift in my priorities!

Take time to decide what is acceptable to you in the important areas of your life. Is it “acceptable” to live in a miserable marriage, or do you have a part to play in fixing it? Is it “acceptable” to raise children who run around crazy and disrespect you? Is it “acceptable” to spin the gerbil wheel for eighty years and miss your God-given purpose?

 Know that what you decide, as it coincides with God’s way of doing things, will literally change what you see and experience. Pray and ask the Father to guide every quality decision and He will help you begin the small changes that must take place in your heart.

Jen 🙂

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7