When Things Get Complicated

Causes-of-Depression
Photo From Urban Wired

What do we do when things get complicated?

Well…here’s some of the things I find myself doing…

  • First of all I get a sick feeling in the pit of my tummy
  • Second I began rehearsing all the “what ifs”
  • Third my mind grasps the most horrendous “what ifs” and runs wild like a cheetah on the Serengeti.
  • Fourth, I become so mentally worn out I sink into depression
  • Fifth, I begin to form a “plan”
  • Sixth I try to implement the “plan”
  • Seventh, I become exhausted
  • Eighth, I pray.

Talk about putting the cart in front of the horse!  Of which I’m the master…so, here, hold my beer while I take a bow!

Why the hell can’t I remember to pray first?  Does it make me a horrible Christian?  On the contrary…it makes me human.

It’s just good ole “human nature” to desire to fix something when it breaks, and we shouldn’t berate ourselves for following our God-given, intrinsic instinct.  If we do, then that, my friend, is the real tragedy.  God doesn’t hold it against us…

Why?

Simply put, God knows how it feels to be human!

God, himself, put on flesh, and walked this earth for 33 years, and his friends called him, Jesus.  During these 33 years he was tempted in all ways, and personally experienced every weakness that can ever befall us.  Remember, He understands.  His arms are open, and he bids us come… “give me your cares for I care for you.”

Now, I’m not so naive as to believe that prayer is some magic wand that fixes everything…

No.

However, this is what prayer will do…

[Jesus] understands our weaknesses, for he faced all the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin.  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.  There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

Through prayer we receive God’s understanding, His Mercy, and His Grace.  Armed with these we can face any circumstance that life throws our way.

So, when things get complicated remember….

  • He will not hold our weakness against us…because He has once felt the same way
  • His arms are always open wide
  • He bids us come
  • He wants us to share our problems with Him
  • He loves us more than life itself…for He gave his life for us
  • His Mercy and Grace never ends…it is new every morning

 

Oh what a Savior we have!

***

“…Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him…”  (Hebrews 4:14)

Daily Prompt:  Complication

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This High Priest of ours [Jesus] understands our weaknesses, for he faced all the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin.  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.  There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.

Advertisements

My Soul To Take

imagesJUPFRQ19
Painting by Florence Kroger

 

Oh, that God would mold this clay,

nothing but dust, dirt and decay!

And yet, in me, He saw some worth;

He sent his Son, from Heaven to Earth.

To lay down his life, upon the cross,

to thirst, and bleed, and suffer loss.

And so for me, His Glory awaits;

one day I’ll walk, through pearly gates.

So nothing to fear, because I am free;

His rod and His staff, they comfort me.

The shadow of death, there is no escape,

But God’s in the valley, my soul, to take.

***

As a tiny girl, often, my mom and I, prayed the prayer, “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.”  I was always comforted by this bedtime ritual.  As an adult, when I think on the memory, I find I am blessed just as much now, as I was then; perhaps even more.  Thus was the inspiration for this poem.

“Mama, thank you for the foundations of strength you’ve given me.  I am a better woman because of you.”

now i lay me down

(Daily prompt: Luck)

Luck has nothing to do with my spiritual life.  It is orchestrated by the hand of God.

 

Obvious Mercy

A Conversation with God 8/25/16

14022211_10210950374180323_4311657546455747167_n
Gracie, hoping more spaghetti squash seeds fall to the floor.

Me:  Well God, I woke up this morning to three big piles and a puddle.  Had to steam mop the floors-of which- I finished the living room, kitchen, dining room, and hallway-ALL- before 7:30 this morning!

God:  Some days are definitely better than others, but…

Me:  Yeah, and some nights are better than others too!  Gracie barked most of the night.  I had to get up and take her outside at least 3 times…  pfhh…probably more than that…I don’t know, Lord…I kinda lost count.  Corinne and have nick-named her Monster.

God:  During those times, whisper my name and…

Me:  Well, I kind’a recollect s…s..saying your name, but… it may n..not have come out as reverently as I would have liked…I’m sorry, Lord.

God:  Lisa, because of my Son, you are forgiven and I will think of it no more.  Remember when I said, “As far as the east is from the west, that far have I removed your transgressions…?”

Me:  Yes Lord, I remember King David writing that.  He sure had a load of sins…huh, Lord…?

God:  None less than yours…

Me:  Yes Lord…I’m sorry.

God:  You see, Lisa, it’s not about the sins you commit-sin is sin-and all have sinned.  The most important “take away” here is that Jesus died and rose again, and because of that your sins are forgiven.  I would much rather you dwell upon Christ and what he’s done, than upon all the mistakes and “bad things” you’ve done.  My mercy is gracious and plentiful, and I want this to be obvious and personal for everyone.

Me:  Lord, thank you for your mercy.

God:  It makes me happy to forgive my children and my arms are always open….regardless of what they’ve done.

Me:  (bows head)  Dear Lord, what a wonderful thing Jesus did for me.  Thank you, my Jesus and please help my mind to rest upon You all day today.

God:  I will help you, Lisa…remember my Spirit goes everywhere you go.  That means I am an ever-present help…ask you shall receive.

Me:  Thank you, God.   Um…God….

God:  Yes Lisa?

Me:  It sure is a lot of work taking care of a puppy.  Do you think I could, maybe…um…lose some weight?

God:  Hmmm…not if you keep eating the muffins that are meant for the  JMU students.

Me:  Oops…guess you saw that the other night…

God:  Remember, I –am- with you always.  (God smiles)

***

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

 He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.

 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.

 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting

Psalms 103:8-17

***

Written for participation of today’s daily prompt:  Obvious

 

Co-Creators

Psalms 13:5

But I have trusted in thy mercy, my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.

Trust and rejoice…David’s choice of words for today.  Trust and rejoice are active words. They insinuate we not sit idly by as our day takes form, but rather to become co-creators of our day.  Trust and rejoice, invites us to take part in this thing we call life.  Our life is measured in increments of time and how we spend that time is what our life will be. Pretty simple concept, yes, I know, but how often it eludes us.  I need to be reminded and reminded often.

Let’s look at trust and how it is used in this context of scripture. David proclaims that he puts his trust in God’s Mercy.  Well, what does he mean by that?  In order to understand all that David is implying, we first need to know the meaning of the word Mercy.  I looked it up at dictionary.com and this was the definition:  compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence. 

And so, Mercy, simply put is receiving compassion when we deserve punishment.  Notice, Mercy is not just  withholding of punishment but it is also the act of giving.  God is so good at this!  He shows us Mercy by withholding the punishment we deserve, but then He takes it a step further by putting Salvation in punishments place.  Thank the Lord, with God, Mercy and Grace go hand-in-hand!  

Now, let’s take a look at the other word, rejoice.  David writes, “…My heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.”  The word rejoice, according to dictionary.com, means to be glad and to take delight in.  David takes delight in God’s salvation.

God’s salvation is the second part of this “Mercy” thing.   Remember Mercy and Grace go hand-in-hand.  Dear friends, that is something to truly rejoice about!  We are saved by Grace…it is the gift of God.  Since it is something we don’t deserve then it is also something we can never, ever screw up!

Another good thing about God’s mercy is that it is fresh every morning!  Lamentations 3:22-23 promises, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Let’s join God, today, and  become co-creators of our world!

Trust and rejoice.

Daily Prayer:  Lord, I’m trusting in your Mercy.  I can never be good enough to earn it  or bad enough to escape it, and for this I thank you, because I screw up all the time.  Help me to be proactive through out my day by trusting and rejoicing in your Love.  In Jesus’s wonderful name…name above all names…Amen

7554c311c1e9db76249eae2add8e98da

Sin…We All Do It

Psalms 6:1-2     Does-freedom-mean-I-can-do-what-I-want.-What-about-sexual-sin.-300x200

Please, Lord,
    don’t punish me when you are angry;
    don’t discipline me when you are furious.
Have mercy on me, Lord,
    because I’m frail.
Heal me, Lord,
    because my bones are shaking in terror! 

I sin everyday.  I try not to sin and try to do good; but none-the-less, sin, in my life, is inevitable.  Just last week I robbed a bank…

Kidding…

                         just kidding…

 Actually,  I try to keep the “big sins” at bay.  Of course, sin is sin, and no one sin is “bigger” than the other in God’s eye.  However, man doesn’t feel quite the same, and that’s why I don’t rob banks!  Also,  I’m sure the orange jump-suit would clash with my hair!  (smile)

There’s scripture in the Bible that speaks of “besetting sins.”  Hebrews 12:1 says, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”  Dictionary.com defines besetting as: constantly assailing or obsessing, as with temptation.  So, a besetting sin is that sin that so easily trips us up in our Christian walk.  I think mine could be Facebook.  (kind of serious this time)  

We all have a besetting sin and some of us have two or three or even more.  I wont give you my list, just the one that trips me up the most…the one I’m the most ashamed of…(might as well keep it real) and that is laziness.

Ouch…that hurt.  

Okay, so…it’s not like I live in a pig-sty.  I do clean my house, cut my grass and cook.  I try to run/walk at least three times a week.  The problem I have is that I put them off as long as possible. (That’s why I mentioned Facebook earlier)  Some may call it procrastination, but I think the two; procrastination and laziness, often go hand in hand.

David was a sinner just like us.  In today’s scripture we find David distraught over his sin, and praying to God. David knows he has done wrong and is aware of God’s chastening hand. And so like any kid before a spanking, he’s reasoning with his parent.  In today’s terminology David’s prayer would go something like this, and I paraphrase, “Daddy, I know I’m gonna get it, but please don’t do it when you’re mad. I’m only a kid and I’m so scared.  Please take it easy on me, I promise to do better.”

I didn’t get many “whippings” growing up, but I remember the time when I got two in one day.  I always tried to be a good girl and was most of the time; however, I was born with a healthy dose of mischievousness, and curiosity often got the better of me.

We lived down a quiet, dead-end dirt road out in the country.  One day,  my Mom went on an errand, but before she left, she walked me across the dirt road, that separated our house and grandma’s house, and left me there to stay while she “went to town.”    After a while, a five year old mischievous girl gets bored, and of course they start looking for something fun to do. Well, I was curious as to what lay beyond the forest that bordered my grandma’s backyard. And so, Todd, my cousin…and partner in crime, and I set off on an exploration.  We walked deep into the woods and didn’t stop until we came to a creek bed filled with deep flowing water.

Straight-away we hopped upon rotted logs and begin to navigate our “boats” upon the water.  Of course it was better if you laid on your tummy, that way you could paddle with both your hands and feet.  That’s exactly what I did.  After a while, we realized it had gotten late, and so we headed back, dripping wet, toward grandmas.  As we neared the house we heard something that sounded like a voice echoing in the breeze.  The closer we got to grandma’s the louder the voice got.  When I realized it was my grandmother calling out to us, my tummy dropped, because I knew we were in trouble.  I may have only been five years old, but I was old enough to recognize the fear in my grandmother’s voice.  It wasn’t too long afterward, I found myself bent over her knee, getting my wet fanny spanked.  Of course grandma told my mom, and so when she and I walked hand-in-hand across the dirt road, my mom stopped at the nearest Lilac bush, broke off a small “switch” and switched my little legs.

I still laugh when I think about it.  Looking back, and thinking about the danger we had put ourselves in, I would have done the same thing to one of my children.  You know, I truly don’t remember  any  pain from the spankings; however, the shame is still fresh in my mind.  I felt guilty that I had done something that had frightened my mom and grandmother so much.  After that “double-whammy day” I never got another spanking.

None of us like to be disciplined, but sometimes there’s just no getting around it.  If done in the right way, it’s actually good for us.  When I give in to one of those besetting sins, I’m convicted and when I’m convicted I feel guilt.  It weighs heavy on my heart and the longer I carry it the heavier it feels. I ponder, long and hard, over what I did wrong, I beat myself up and call myself stupid and dumb.  My self-worth takes a nose dive, and I feel awful.

As Christians we don’t have to carry that burden.  Our Father, in his love for us, provided a way to relieve us from all our guilt and shame.  He woos us to come and to give it to Him.   He doesn’t want us to walk around with that stuff.  He wants us to have peace and joy.  He knew, before we were born, we would sin and sin a lot; and yet, He still chose us to be his children.

David in verse two cries out out to his Father, “Have mercy on me Lord for I am frail…” God knows we are but humans made from dust.  He knows everyone of our weaknesses and loves us any way.  I John 1:9 assures us, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” All we have to do is ask for forgiveness.  In fact once we ask for forgiveness He no longer remembers our sin.  Psalms 103:12 tells us, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

If God no longer remembers our confessed sins, then don’t you think we should stop punishing ourselves as well?  Give the guilt and shame to him and accept his free gift of Mercy today.

My Prayer:  Lord, I sin everyday.  Sometimes I’m selfish.  Sometimes I’m lazy.  Sometimes I eat more than I should.  Sometimes I gossip.  Sometimes I say and think things I shouldn’t, and sometimes I lash out in anger.  Father, I’m truly sorry and ask for your forgiveness.  Thank you for your Mercy.  Help me to stop punishing myself.  Remind me, often, of the forgiveness and freedom I have in Christ.  I love you, Lord.  Amen.

bible-quotes-on-love-and-forgiveness