The other day my friend Linda sent this to me. It is so good I just had to share it with all you dog lovers out there!
The other day my friend Linda sent this to me. It is so good I just had to share it with all you dog lovers out there!
I have been enjoying my devotional time with Joyce Meyer Ministries. The other day Joyce was teaching on “Asking God” – as taken from these scriptures:
Matthew 7:7-11 (NKJV)
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Matthew 21:22 (NKJV)
22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
If you are like me you have heard these scriptures many times. I had heard them but must admit that I was not really asking. Somehow it did not seem polite to keep asking for things – like a spoiled child who never thinks about anybody else but themselves. Me, me, ME!!!! Mine, mine, MINE!!! Whah, whah, WHAH!!!! It just felt WRONG.
So my prayer and communication had taken on a different tone over the years. Always respectful and thankful, bringing out confessions, my weaknesses and concerns for others, my family and friends. Walking and talking with God. But I believe I was missing one important aspect to prayer. I wasn’t asking.
Not only does God say to ask – but we are told to do so boldly.
New King James Version (NKJV)
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
So the other night in my prayer time – I took a bold step and just asked. And because God already knows what I am thinking about I have to believe that the asking is partly for me. A step of faith. It helps me get things out and really deal with them. Rather than shoving them aside – or pushing them down deep where I don’t have to think about them.
Another thing Joyce said was this: Even if we don’t see the answer to prayer after asking – we need to tell ourselves that God is still working. That clear statement of faith with drive doubt and negativity from our minds and hearts when the waiting for answers seems long and hard. To think that when I boldly ask – and then leave it with Him to work it out in His timing behind the scenes – leaves me feeling peaceful and reassured.
For some circumstances it is easy to believe and have faith in the process of God’s timing. It is maybe even easy to ask. But there are situations where it is very difficult to ask. I have one right now – that has actually made me feel guilty about even asking. But the other night I asked anyway. I gave it away, and though I’m sure it won’t automatically just go away from my mind and heart – I took the steps to begin that great ‘behind the scenes’ work that only God can provide.
Have you an issue right now that you’re afraid to even ask about? You can be reassured that God wants you to ask. He will work out the details. He is trustworthy to bring only good for your life, peace for your soul and health for your mind and body.
Ask Him today. And know that He is still working.
I was out taking a walk around the neighborhood yesterday, in one of those rare sunny and fairly “warmish” days. I had my iPhone/iPod tunes coming through my ear buds and I was humming a happy little tune.
I turned a corner and walked toward a nearby park when all of a sudden the thought struck me: What if I lost all this great music on my iPhone? What if my computer had a melt-down and my WHOLE music library was GONE! In an instant!
Well, while this and other great thoughts invaded my mind along my walk – I had to ask myself, “would it really be a big deal? – I mean, come on – it’s just music, right?”
I had to admit that it would not be a huge deal. An inconvenience for sure – but not the end of the world (as in what’s supposed to happen this Saturday – but that’s ANOTHER story). No – my life and my world would continue on – I would just turn on my Pandora Radio and slowly rebuild my music library again – or just listen to CD’s and the radio in the car until I gathered my music once again over time.
Now while this is a silly example – I thought about the “things” I hold on to. Those things that I feel ownership over. The things that are mine. My personal belongings, my pictures, my books, my computer, my piano, my blog articles and so on and so forth. What if something happened to them? Would I be Okay? Would I survive? If EVERYTHING was taken away from me tomorrow – would I really be able to make it? Is my identity defined by all those things? Would I really be lost without them?
No. I would be Okay. I choose to keep a loose grasp on my material blessings. I can move, sell, sort and get rid of extra junk when I need to – and have in the past done several BIG MOVES across the country and back – to know that I am not defined by things. I’ve witnessed several households of furniture come and go in 30 years of marriage and have not been devastated when the time came to unload it – or lighten our load.
I believe there is a principle in this for not only the material “things” – but I believe we should be willing to let go of our firm grip when it comes to the people in our lives – even if we don’t want to. I was determined when raising our two children, that I was NOT going to be one of those mom’s who couldn’t bear to let my kids grow up, change and become independent from me. It is perfectly normal for them to need me less and less as they mature – and to someday be fully developed and have their own life – apart from me.
Our children are only on loan to us. I don’t believe there are any accidents. God knows what He is doing – and He gave me my children to love and raise. I do not OWN them. And when I have invested into them everything I can – (not always in the most perfect way – but with the best intentions), I can release them, knowing that they are individuals who must answer to God for themselves – they are no longer my responsibility.
Many parents become unhappy when their grown-up children do not need them anymore – when it is very normal and natural that they should NOT need us anymore when they are mature. Some are bewildered because they feel they lose their control over their children and even try forms of manipulation and even guilt to keep them young – while imposing their need and dreams of the “good old days”. While this is natural because of the time investment spent in them – it should not be used as a method of control towards our children. They are given to us – they really belong to God. It is important to raise our children “in the way they should go” and then let them go – loosen the grip – release them in love. Even if we don’t always agree. Pray for them – and then trust God.
And though I am far from perfect as a mom – I have always tried to let my own grown-up children lead their own lives. I feel like Greg and I did everything we could do while they were living in our home – and we tried to set a godly example for them while growing up – through good and bad, happy and sad times.
The secret is to have a “loose grip” on the things and people that we don’t feel we can let go. Have a firm grip on God – and teach your children to do the same. He will make His plans known to them – and He is ultimately responsible for their journey – when they allow Him to guide their steps. This is so freeing to me as a parent and I know it will be to you too. This will lead to a happy life – full of deep joy with no regret.
How’s your grip? Do you feel it tightening around things you can’t bear to lose? Can you just relax and trust? How do you apply a “loose grip” to your own situations?
Below is the beautiful version of this classic song – sung on the show ‘Glee’. This is sure to make you smile today!
For years I have known that there are very different ways that people see things – or hear things. But none is so clear to me than when constantly around and living 24/7 with a man. I have a husband AND a son – so I know what I’m talking about. I’ve even written on the two subjects over a year ago – highlighted below in this article.
Men have an undisputed ‘Nothing Box’. A place where they go in their head to do – NOTHING. No one is in there. No one. As in No one – Nada – Nothing. Zip. Zero. NOTHING. It’s where they ‘zone-out’ – put a pause button on life and just do – nothing.
Women have a ‘Something Box’ – decorated anyway we want – and we can invite anyone into it to have deep meaningful conversations – listen to music or do whatever we like – with no interruptions and no distractions. At least most of the time. It is pretty and surrounded by our own thoughts – our own wishful thinking and a place where we win every argument and solve every problem. A place where everyone loves us and we are queen of the universe.
But because men and women think very differently – herein lies the problem:
1. Men go occasionally to their ‘Nothing Box’ – but usually for short spurts of time – not the whole day – and when they emerge from their ‘box’ they are ready to do life again and engage in conversation. RIGHT NOW. As in enter into social niceties and give you their full attention. And you best be ready. Men have fragile egos – and like lots of attention. Especially my man. It’s just true.
2. Women live in their ‘Something Box’. Yes it’s true – but don’t tell anyone I said so. Shhh. It is a secret. We can get away with living in it and not have the men know about it – because we can multi-task. And we do it well – fooling our male counterparts – because they are not like us – and because they can’t do this – they don’t think we can either. It is easy to fool them. But we are not men – nor do we think like them. We stay in our ‘box’ all the time.
It is the way it is.
Here’s another problem:
Besides being male and female – we all process information differently. Some are very visual – like my husband. He gets visual stimulation and processes it as he sees it – much like looking at a picture of a map – rather than the written directions to get where he is going – and he does not always pick up on audio cues. A commercial on the TV will stop him dead in his tracks and hypnotize him. I’ve never understood that. I don’t get sucked into anything on TV unless I can start from the very beginning. It simply doesn’t interest me. Another thing I’ve observed from my dear husband is that fact that he gets VERY distracted to outside noise and stimulation.
For example, when we are in a restaurant that has a TV on in the corner – he HAS to look at it. Or if a couple behind him in a booth have a conversation going – he can be looking right at me – but he’s so caught up in the conversation behind him he has a hard time focusing on what I’m saying. But he can tell you EVERYTHING about their conversation. I’ve never understood this – because I simply don’t hear it. I can hyper focus on the person right in front of me – and there can be loud BLARING music going on around me – and maybe even a sirens, smoke and FIRE – and I probably wouldn’t notice it!
You see – I’m the opposite – I am an auditory learner – and more precisely, a kinesthetic learner – meaning that if I hear something I will probably always remember it – and I climb inside of music and conversations to really feel it. I love to feel things – deeply. I love meaningful conversations – I can hyper focus all of my attention to do this. Also – I can recite lyrics to songs from my youth – and pretty much know every song that I’ve heard (within reason). Not so my ‘visual’ husband. He’s like, ‘are those REALLY the lyrics? – I never knew what they were!’ Incredible.
So – it is what it is.
My visual male counter part – emerges from his ‘Nothing Box’ – sees the world and processes all the visual stimulation out there. Especially true when we’re driving in the car. Greg is excited about what he ‘sees’ and loves sharing it with me. He’s cute – like a little boy. 🙂
Problem: I’m always in my ‘Something Box’ listening to music on the CD player – thinking deeply about something on my mind that’s troubling me, writing a new blog article, solving theater problems, etc. – and all of a sudden – Someone is interrupting my thoughts and BURSTING INTO MY SOMETHING BOX – by pointing and saying in a LOUD voice – ‘LOOK AT THAT OVER THERE!!! Are you looking? You’re MISSING IT!!’
Greg does not understand – that I am the kind of person that takes everything in at once – processes it quickly – and I throw out what is not necessary to my life at the moment – I save the most critical and important things in my head to think about and work on – in my ‘box’. I cannot be distracted and pulled in another direction – it does not work that way. He gets very frustrated with me. He ‘sees’ it and responds – I ‘feel’ it and contemplate.
But – it is what it is. And it is something we’ve had to deal with over the years. I have learned for example that I must stop what I’m doing when Greg comes into my office – even if I’m in the middle of a deep thought – or writing an article. I need to put a ‘pause’ on what I’m doing and turn in my chair and look right at him – so he sees that he has my FULL attention – which is what he wants from me all the time. I have learned that this is the best thing to do so that he will see that I’m making the effort to understand and give him the attention that he requires – even if it means stopping what I’m doing. Better yet – I get out of my chair and go over to him – engage him with great eye contact and touch him – kissing him is better and giving him a warm embrace. That seems to do the trick 🙂
This makes him a little more understanding when he tries to interrupt my thoughts in my ‘something box’ – as I know he will, so I will see him and pay attention. And I try to be understanding when he does not hear me and doesn’t pick up on the verbal and non-verbal cues. It’s okay – I know he’s in his ‘box’ again – and all will be well when he comes out 🙂
And he in turn has learned to listen WAY MORE than he ever did before – realizing that I don’t need him to see me – but I need him to hear me – and to feel it with me. So that’s exactly what he has attempted to do – and to his credit – when he comes out of that ‘box’ – he does just that!
Here’s to you and yours as you find that balance with each other and try to have patience for the men in your life with their ‘nothing box’ and the women with their ‘something box’ – as you try to navigate through life – together. 🙂 Good luck! You’re going to need it.
Every journey has them. Every life encounters them. They are speed bumps.
I’m keenly aware of the ones in my life. Even long after they have happened. It’s interesting that the speed bump appears just as I’ve hit my stride and I’m feeling great – when sailing along at top speed – doing what I always do.
I don’t like speed bumps. I never have. I don’t like slowing down. Sometimes I have not slowed down and made proper allowances for the speed bump – only to hear a very loud noise as my car plows over it – and it makes me cringe. Speed bumps are put there for one purpose: to MAKE us slow down. Slow down – or ELSE.
There are events in my life that have also made me slow down. Just when I thought I had it all together. All the people important to me and my world in their proper place. Something happens. Causing my world to not only slow down – but come to a complete stop. Oh I didn’t want to stop. I didn’t even want to slow down and call it a ‘speed bump’ – but in retrospect – that’s exactly what it was. Something that shook me down to my foundation – made me take inventory and readjust. I didn’t want to. It hurt.
Ever feel like this? Things happen that make you slow down and sometimes come to a complete stop? Dead in your tracks? You’re not alone.
I believe that God knows and understands this. If I didn’t believe this – there would be no hope for me. He listens and understands without judgment – without condemnation. He knows I am guilty – of so many things – of not slowing down and showing more caution and much more. But He is in the restoring business – and He pursues me with a love like no other. Lavish and full. Complete in forgiveness and grace. And I weep. For no one understands my heart like He does. No one loves me like this. I weep for the loss. I weep because I cannot fix things. I weep because I am sad. And He knows and whispers to me that it’s only temporary – only a speed bump along my journey.
Those speed bumps have taught me something valuable that I can hang onto. I am still me – and they don’t keep me from being who I am – but instead teach me an important lesson about slowing down – and recognizing danger – before I get there and plow recklessly into it. And I have His promise that He will journey with me – no matter how bad the speed bump is in the future.
He is much more concerned with my heart than any external circumstances and I believe He will allow anything – even those speed bumps along the way in order for me to be more sensitive and bring me closer to understanding His heart.
I am praying for you
It’s so nice to know.
My heart is stirred today in much emotion – a heavy heart over events and situations that have lately affected my life and made it difficult to press on. A difficult season of life – with many things out of my control – leaving deep sadness, remorse – and resignation.
Our pastor, Stephen Collins, spoke on the subject of ‘Mercy’ today. And although it is a subject that is not new to me – or any people of faith – I believe I heard newness in this simple message today – things that I will continue to ponder in the coming weeks. I found myself very emotional. This is a subject that is close to my heart and life. And so with tears streaming down my face – I sat there and took it all in – and allowed the Lord to minister sweet words of comfort and blessing. I was touched and moved beyond words.
I’ve noticed something about people who are merciful. – they are the first ones to forgive, love, embrace and welcome back, those who are lost or fallen away. They have no trouble accepting forgiveness or giving it. They do not accuse and blame. They have tender hearts – and they understand the value of mercy – because God has shown mercy to them. They are also the happiest and most positive people in the world – with many friends. Their friends trust them – and turn to them when they are in trouble – with no fear of judgment of alienation. These are people who have been forgiven.
We’ve been watching ‘A Christmas Carol’ – I was noting how Scrooge shows no mercy at the beginning of the story – and then after being shown his life by the ‘spirits’ – he begins to see others and himself in a new light. The Scrooge story is a story of mercy. A story of second chances and a new lease on life – a valuable reminder to all of us to remember that when you show mercy to others – others will be merciful. And it is interesting to note – that the nephew and employee of Scrooge have merciful hearts and embrace him without question – at the beginning of the story – when he is NOT merciful – and later as he is transformed at the end of the story. No questions – no judgment – no criteria. Just open arms of love and mercy.
I want to be one that shows mercy – even when I feel as though others have judged me and not understood me – or shown mercy to me. I want to be the first to say, ‘I understand, I forgive, I love’. And leave it at that. No questions asked. No hesitation. No disbelief. Just love and mercy.
Help me Lord to be that kind of person. Help me to get over myself, my pride, my hurt and pain. Help me to let go of others that have wronged me – those who have no understanding that their words and actions have wounded me more than they will ever know – and help me to forgive them and show mercy. For I am very aware that if I do not show mercy to others who have failed – or not done what I think they should, then you will not show mercy to me. Help me to walk with a pure clean heart – free of agenda – free of revenge. Help me to see others through your eyes. Amen.
Heard another great message from our pastor, Stephen Collins yesterday morning. He has begun a series on “The Beatitudes”. This question was asked:
Are you happy? Is this really what you want? Will that alone satisfy you long-term? When feelings change and emotions are fickle?
The most profound statement came in the middle of the message. ‘When we settle for just being happy – we aim too low’ – missing out on God’s blessing in our lives’. Sometimes, God doesn’t want us to be happy. Sometimes there are lessons in the ‘gift’ of pain and hardship in our lives. The most significant changes in our heart and character come when life is not ‘happy’ – but dark and sad.
For me – I know this is a true statement – and sums up just what I have learned and lived through over the past 2 years – as I grew and discovered God’s ‘gift’ of hard times, both personally, in my relationships and spiritually.
If we accept the ‘gift’ in the way it is intended – then God can do His greatest work in us – bringing us more than just ‘happiness’ – but a blessed and meaningful life. And sometimes what may feel like the end of the world – may only be the beginning of a great and rewarding life.
Are you happy? Is that what you really want? Or do you want more? Do you want God’s rich blessing poured out in your life. I know I do. I want to reap the reward of choosing to do the right thing – when doing that goes against everything I may be feeling. It means doing right by people and relationships – and being the right person. Living by character and integrity – rather than emotions. And when I do stray away and don’t choose what is right – at least initially – then knowing how to get back on the right path – hard as it is – to reconcile and fix it – and keep my heart open.
I am more than happy. I am blessed. I understand this now – but it took a couple of hard lessons to really believe it. I’m blessed with a wonderful family, a man who loves me with everything that he is – and friendships that mean everything to me. What I lost – God has richly replaced – and has taught me a great many lessons in the process. Things I could not have learned – just by following my heart and emotions because I ‘wanted to be happy’. When we see life as a journey – and know that there is a much bigger picture than just personal happiness – we will not want to aim so low.
Are you happy? Are you wishing for more than that? I invite you to share in some hard times – and think of them as a ‘gift’ – an added blessing to enhance your character and integrity. I wish you more than happiness, my friend. I wish you a life of blessing and purpose – a holy calling in which you give up ‘personal happiness’ for something richer and deeper. To see people the way that God sees them. To understand there is a lost world out there – and your unique gifts have placed you right where you are – to influence those that He has entrusted to you. Use them today.
Be more than just ‘happy’ – be blessed and be a blessing to those in your life.
In the last few days – this is the article that has been viewed the most on my blog site. It’s one that I feel is often the culprit keeping friendships and people apart. What a wonderful world this would be if everyone would rather be reconciled – than be right.
Happy October 1st to all of you in ‘blog world’ and enjoy the article!
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