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 13 – Hurry Up and Wait

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 As a kid, I had “ants in my pants” and I needed to dance, often. But loving parents, loyal leaders and a gracious God helped me to cultivate some crucial characteristics for living. And with them have come a few coined sayings, such as: “No Freedom Without A Fight,” “Difficulty Develops Discipline,” and “If You Plan To Stand Forever, It Won’t Take Very Long.”

 These all remind me that without patience, nothing of intrinsic value ever gets accomplished. You and I are tempted to think we know a little because we’ve experienced a thing or two along the way. But the truth is we haven’t learned much of anything at all and we still need the good Lord’s wisdom and guidance.

I don’t believe God goes around breaking His children’s ankles to teach them to obey, but I have gained a few knots on this hard head of mine when I’ve chosen to take Frank Sinatra’s advice and “do it my way.”

Everyone should read up on the first followers of Jesus. They were just like us; they were working with the brains they were given. And boy, did they misunderstand the Master plan from time to time.

But the more they walked, the more He taught; until the day came that He left them in charge of His earthly ministry. Why? Because they finally learned all there was to know? No! Because, in my opinion, they knew enough to be patient and wait (“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” Acts 1:4, emphasis mine).

Read the rest of Acts and you will see how much patience would be needed for these forerunners to focus on the promised day. Again, we are no different. If it was mandatory then, it’s mandatory now.

If you have refused to pray for patience in an effort to avoid any unnecessary tests, I do have some news for you. The test will come anyway. You’ll just end up taking the make-up test because your patience is underdeveloped.

The tests are to prove what you have learned thus far. So, don’t run from the help (The test, I mean!). Pray and embrace all that God wants to give you.

The Character First  I WILL’s for Patience:

I WILL change the things I can and accept the things I can’t

I WILL keep trying until I succeed

I WILL make the most of my spare time

I WILL not interrupt

I WILL not complain if I don’t get my way

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! Romans 5:3-5 The Message Bible

 Biblical Meditation: Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

January 5 – Coming Through!

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I read a quote one day. “Remember: God sends children through you, not to you.” I remember thinking out loud, “Wow, that’s good!” It wasn’t until years later, when I was holding my own precious babies, that the quote really jarred me. All of a sudden, I felt out of control and powerless. Their destinies are in the hands of the One who sent them.

Dr. Luke’s historical account of the child who would one day be known as John the Baptist is quite insightful. What an entrance he made into the world! An angel pronounced his birth, a woman past the age of childbearing carried him, and a daddy who couldn’t speak declared his unexpected name.

So, you knew this baby was on his way to the top of his class and would surely be the next High Priest of Israel. On the contrary! The Bible says he lived in the desert. This great man was hidden from mainstream society most of his days. For all practical purposes, he was a social misfit; I mean the guy had a diet of grasshoppers and wild honey!

But, at the proper time, God brought his purpose to light. Everyone then and now can see and receive the precious Gift of God because he followed God’s plan for his life. Maybe you wonder if your “spirited child” will ever get it together. Be encouraged.

Our children are in His grasp. To Him, they are time capsules set to go off at the proper time. Indeed, they have landed on this planet through you, but always remember to Whom they ultimately belong!

 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel. Luke 1:80 NIV

 Biblical Meditation: Psalm 127

January 4 – What’s Your Name?

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I grew up in Midland, Texas. We moved away when I was 12, but it is still “back home” to me. If you went there and interviewed some of my old buddies, you wouldn’t find out much. This is not because they have been sworn to secrecy.

It’s because they know me by my nickname, “Jude.” My mom says that the old Beatles song, “Hey Jude,” described what life would be for me and those I encountered.  I would “take sad songs and make them better.”

 It wasn’t until we moved to Oklahoma that mom required me to start using my birth name. I will never forget that day as long as I live. I felt like I had put on shoes that weren’t mine.  To me, “Lorenzo” was my dad, not me.

Oh, how I struggled! Teachers would call roll and I wouldn’t even answer because I wasn’t accustomed to my real name. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I encountered the power of my identity. I was reading this passage in Luke around the Christmas holidays and there it was.

It jumped off the page. “And you are to give him the name John.” The next few verses described why his name had to be John. It was all about the purpose for which he was born. At that moment, I went and looked up the meaning of Lorenzo Leon.

The meaning of Lorenzo is “crowned” and Leon is “brave lion.” I have to tell you I laughed when I read that my name meant “crowned lion.” (I put my first and middle name’s meanings together.) I saw myself as anything but a lion, let alone a king. But that is right were God nailed me between the eyes.

God planned before the ages for me to bear that name for His purpose in the earth. And even though “Jude” had a place in my life, it did not adequately describe my destiny.

What’s your name? Find out the meaning and post it somewhere you will see it daily. Start calling yourself by the meaning. There is a great book I use that gives scripture connotations so I can quote God’s word over my name.

The book is called “The Name Book” by Dorothy Astoria. If you are anything like me, you will be overwhelmingly surprised at how insignificantly you’ve viewed your name and contribution in the sight of God.

God wants all of us to know He plans to use our name in the service of His Kingdom and we or no one else has a right to discount it. So, let Him unlock your name today and introduce you to the you He sees.

11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. 14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” Luke 1:13-17 NLT

 Suggested Biblical Meditation: Luke 1

 

November 20- No Need to Fuss

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, and do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, and God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Matthew 6:30-33

When I was a boy, I loved to get in the sun and throw shadows. I would be walking along and all of a sudden I’d come upon a wall. My shadow would make me look like I was ten feet tall. It was always fun to come up behind my buddies and make them think I was an adult or one of the big boys. Sometimes they would get all nervous until they realized it was just me.

Have you ever found yourself making a big fuss over something only to find out it was just a shadow? Growing up, penicillin was the wonder-cure for everything. My mom was a nurse, and if I ever even acted like I was coming down with something she would threaten to take me to the doctor to get a shot of penicillin in the backside!

One day the visit was inevitable and I got to fussing, “Momma, NO! I don’t need a shot. Please, Momma, It’s gonna hurt!” I worried myself sick all morning over that shot of penicillin and the mean doctor that was going to stick it to me. What I didn’t know is my mom worked with the doctor and had already arranged to give me the shot herself in his presence. I didn’t feel a thing, except a little foolish for making a big fuss over nothing!

Listen, life is no different then a shot of penicillin when God is your Papa. He’s not going to let anyone or anything stick it to you. Open your heart and hear what He’s saying to you today. He loves you and He knows your needs better than you do. All your problems are just sophisticated shadows that have no true power to harm you. Let His Word comfort and guide you. It matters not what the issues are. There’s no need to fuss, Daddy’s got you covered.

Lorenzo

Suggested Bible Meditation: Matthew 6:25-34 and Luke 12:22-34

November 2- Fruit-full

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. John 15:4 The Message Bible

 Independence is a phony thing. When you and I were little tots, we clambered and crawled toward the day of self-support; “soon I will do it myself.” And now, anywhere we want to go and most of what we want to do, we can accomplish without anyone’s help. Right? Today I am reminded of a dear older gentleman who taught me a thing or two about this subject. He was close to 90 when we met. I would go see him periodically on Wednesday afternoons for about 3 years straight. And every visit, I would learn something new about him, about Oklahoma, or about the world in general. There seemed to be no place or subject he wasn’t well-versed in. In my estimation, he had accomplished more in his lifetime than anyone I had ever known. And yet, he was wise enough to know at the twilight of his years, he couldn’t do some of the things he used to on his own. So, he had caregivers who assisted him with most of his day-to-day chores. No, he wasn’t too proud. When he was traveling the world, fighting the war, and surviving the Dust Bowl, he couldn’t do it on his own then, either. He learned his success and survival was directly connected to his relationship with the Lord. To the naked eye, this man was as independent as they come. But to the open heart and listening ear, he was the epitome of a “fruit-full” fellow well-connected to the vine. May we all learn and follow!

Lorenzo

October 20- The Rock That Is Higher Than I

Psalms 31:1-3 I run to you, God; I run for dear life. Don’t let me down! Take me seriously this time! Get down on my level and listen. And please-no procrastination! Your granite cave a hiding place, your high cliff a place of safety. You’re my cave to hide in, my cliff to climb. Be my safe leader, be my true mountain guide.  

Have you ever got some really bad news? I mean really bad. Do you remember how that hopeless feeling tried to swallow you whole? You start to feel all alone and isolated. Then you get mad because it’s just not fair! “What did I do to deserve this? Yes, I know I have not been perfect, but who has?” If you have ever been on that mountain before, you can relate to the above verse. This is a desperate cry for help. There is nowhere else to turn but up. If God doesn’t come through, it’s all over. This plea is familiar to God. It does not catch Him by surprise in the least. He’s a parent, for crying out loud! How many times have you heard a distress signal from your kids? What they might think is eminent doom, you see as a teachable moment.

I recall the time I was rock climbing with a group of boys in the mountains. We had about 20 boys with us and I was one of the counselors. Our guides were certified, but we were all pretty efficient in rock climbing safety. But for some reason, I foolishly decided to try climbing without a rope. (This is still shocking to think about!) I didn’t want to influence the kids to follow my lead, so I snuck around the side of the mountain about 30 yards. It was a 40 foot climb and everything was going great for the first 20 feet. All of a sudden, there were no more places to grab. The next big rock was flatter than a pancake. After about 15 minutes at a total stand still, I began to panic. I couldn’t hold on any longer, so I braced myself for the endless fall. It would soon be over.

Right then, a rope from above hit me on the nose and I heard a voice say, “Connect this to your harness.” It was one of the guides who heard a noise and thought he’d check it out. He saved my life. Yes, I made a very poor choice. My heart appealed to God as I prepared for the worst. And right before the darkest moment, light broke through! He saw me and He knew what to do. Right now, you may feel like you are hanging by a thread and you could let go at any moment. Your situation may not even be the result of a bad decision. But even though you can’t see Him with your physical eyes, God is right there. He knows just what you need. Trust Him and let Him be your safe place.

Lorenzo

Biblical Meditation: Psalms 91:1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand].