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Sunday, April 24, 2016

"In this world....

In this world you will have trouble....

It had been a wonderful time on the mountain. A most intimate moment with Jesus. They had been ministered to; they rejoiced and saw heavenly things that filled them with wonder. 

How badly they wanted to remain longer here. Soak up the sweet presence of God and ponder upon this experience. 

Never-the-less it was time to leave. They descended glowing still, their hearts full. It was back to reality. And what an ugly thing reality can be. 

They came upon an unpleasant scene. The disciples who remained behind were involved in a fracas. They appeared to be distressed and confused. People were yelling, pointing fingers, jostling bodies pushed in anger. A group of religious teachers were right in the middle of the melee sneering with accusations. 

Standing off to one side was a father and a young boy who watched sadly. Shoved aside and forgotten in this drama. 

Now I can’t speak for you, but I would probably be tempted to turn around and climb up that mountain to hold onto what warm feelings I have left. Life can be rather difficult at times and it seems much better to escape the ugliness than to bear down and face it. 

Jesus did more than just face it. He rose above the negative atmosphere calmed the situation and touched that father and his son. He was proactive rather than checking out. 

Jesus warned us we would have days like these. “In me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

This life and all that goes with it can be quite overwhelming at times. I get tired of the struggles and conflicts. After a while my soul gets weary, I want to escape. Why can’t the mountaintop experiences remain a little longer? How can I keep my mind on higher things when I’m facing ugly realities that pull me down? 

I think our mindset is the key in how we handle the rough spots. If we are already defeated in our minds, then it stands to reason we will be defeated. What if a football team comes out of the locker room with their heads down bogged down in the disappointment of their last loss?  What if they had listened to the press coverage about their opponents, “This team can’t be beat, and they won’t gain a yard against their defense...”  What if they listened to coverage about themselves? “They played horrible in their last two games. There are just too many key injuries that will hinder them. They can’t win this game...”  

I highly doubt they will play well in this game. They are already defeated before they hit the field. How can you face life’s challenges with a mindset like this?  

What are you confessing to yourself? Does everything look so bleak? Are you proclaiming defeat? A negative mindset can surely bog you down. 

Perhaps we need to change our mindset. Does this mean we are blind to reality? No, it means we choose to see the truth. Truth says: I can overcome the world because He overcame it. I can do all things in Christ, because He gives me strength. I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me. His divine power has given me everything I need for life and godliness. These powerful sentences are in the Word. 

Can’t God work even in the midst of the rough spots? Can we bask in His presence in the middle of chaos? Is it impossible for God? I believe He can, and I believe that I can overcome. And it all starts in my mind. If it’s all gloom and doom there, then I guarantee that negativity will reign in my world. 

We can be proactive rather than just reacting. We can be a powerful witness. It’s your choice. If you want to remain in the pit of negativity, then you will. You don’t have to remain there. Choose to see truth and confess it. 

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rambling Thursdays

There are certain pieces of clothing I pull out of my closet time and time again. Not because I lack clothing, by no means! By virtue of loving them so much. 

I’m speaking of Christopher and Banks Essential Tees. Essential is the perfect word to describe these, because that is what they are...Essential. 

I have never had such comfortable Tee shirts. So easy to wear with jeans, shorts, or khakis. Pair them with a jacket, blazer or by themselves. Dress up with a scarf or long necklace. 

There are a wide variety of colors and styles. I prefer the 3/4 sleeves. It’s wonderful to hide those flabby arms. Yes, I have those too. 

They wash very well. I’ve bought cheap Walmart Tees that have lost their shape after one washing. These will not do that. I have some that are a few years old and they still look good. They seem true to size as well. I’ve ordered online and haven’t had any problems in the fit. 

If you are looking for some Tees for the summer, check these out. I highly recommend them. Sometimes they will have a two for $30. So they are very affordable. 

Another new item I found for this summer is a pair of Lee Capris. I loved these immediately, which is saying a lot. It’s difficult and tricky to shop for pants. They have a stretchy waist band which is so comfortable. 
I would say they are true to size. At least my size. Which again is saying a lot! 

As you can see, there is a wide variety of colors. I did not buy mine at Kohl’s. My local farm store, (Big R) sells Lees and I bought them there for less than $20. 

So you could probably find a good deal other than Kohl’s. Anyway, I hope these two suggestions aid you in your search for summer clothing. 

On another note, it has finally warmed up here in Indiana and I have hit the ground running. In fact my legs made their first appearance this past weekend. They need help. 

Enjoy the weekend friends. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

You gotta have heart.

For NFL fans, this time between the Combine and the Draft is a season of speculation. Who will be drafted first? Will my team draft great players who will make an immediate impact? 

The Combine in February is a big deal. All the coaches and scouts converge in Indianapolis to watch potential players run drills, interview and even go through testing. They scrutinize these guys over this weekend, leaving no stone unturned. After all they are spending millions of dollars on these guys. Yet no matter how confident you are in a player, it’s a risk. 

Teams have been burned before. A guy may have a monster combine. Just flat out kill the drills and interview well. He may have been a great college player. But after they have been drafted and go through training camp into the season, they may end up being a bust. They may not have the drive; may not put their whole heart into becoming the best player and teammate. They may not give it their all to win. They don’t apply themselves very well. And so eventually they may be cut, or traded to another team. 

It’s the heart of a person that makes all the difference whether in football or in our spiritual walk. Samuel the prophet was fooled by the outward appearance. 

God sent him to Jesse’s family to anoint the next king of Israel. He stood before seven of his sons, looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before me.”  He looks the part. Checks off all the boxes. Meets all the measurables. But God sees deeper than the physical appearance.

“Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

David was the one God chose. He was a small shepherd boy. He didn’t really look the part. Yet he had a heart for God. He was passionate for God. “He was a man after God’s heart.” 1 Samuel 13:14

This is the guy when King Saul told him, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are a youth and he has been a man of war from his youth,” remarked back, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

This is the kind of heart that David had. And it benefited him all his life. 

A NFL coach can’t measure a man’s heart. The coach might know all his physical measurables. He knows how fast he runs, how high he jumps, how he played in college. He even knows his family background. But he really has no clue until the player is out on the field as to how he plays. 

How about you? Do you meet all the measurables? Do you look the part? Do you check off all the relevant boxes? Do you meet the standard?

Don’t worry....I don’t either. 

Believe me, I’ve looked at myself; shortcomings, failings and wonder how I can make an impact. Can God do something great through me? Perhaps other people may look at me and think the same thing. Maybe I even believe it sometimes. 

But you know, this is a lie from the pit! The truth is that “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward Him.” 

God doesn’t have a clipboard with your measurables on it. He doesn’t look at you and check off the boxes. Okay, this girl has it! I can work with her! 

No, what matters is your heart. Do you rely on Him continually? Is He the strength of your heart? Do you love Him with a passion above all others? 

Did you answer yes? Well then girl, get back out there and do what He’s called you to do. Use those gifts He gave you. Don’t sideline yourself. His glory will be seen through your life. You will make a huge impact with those your life will touch. He’s just waiting for someone to stand up and believe it. 

I’m ending the blog with this lovely passage in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

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