Monthly Archives: October 2014

24 Hours

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Hour glass or sand timer with vintage pocket watch, symbols of t

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a time for everything,

    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

    a time to kill and a time to heal,

    a time to tear down and a time to build,

    a time to weep and a time to laugh,

    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

    a time to search and a time to give up,

    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

    a time to tear and a time to mend,

    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

     a time to love and a time to hate,

    a time for war and a time for peace.

 

Time. There never seems to be enough.

Everyday the Lord gives us 24 hours to do what we need to do; what He has called us to do. Every purpose has a season. Life is constantly in a state of flux. Children are born, learn to walk, go to school, graduate, get married and the cycle begins again.

Seasons of life pass like water down a rushing river. It seems like yesterday, I was holding my firstborn, gazing upon the wonder of this precious, miraculous life. Now we are having discussion about what she might want to study in college.

My parents grew old when I wasn’t looking. All of the sudden, there are health concerns, medical directives, and unspoken contemplations about the “what if…”

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven….

 

A reminder that nothing on this earth lasts forever. Everything has a season. A beginning and an end. Childhood ends. Youth slowly transitions into mid-life. Suddenly, without warning, we have become our parents.

A time to be born and a time to die….

 

In between birth and death, there is life.

I’ve been thinking about “a life well lived” since last week. I attended the funeral of a long time friend. Only 49 years old. He left behind a wife of 23 years, 3 children, and a legacy of love and integrity.

Steve lived life well. He loved the Lord and showed it in all he did. His family, his job as a teacher, his marriage, his church and his friends are all testaments to a life well lived. Person after person gave testimony to the life of this wonderful man. 1200+ people came to honor Steve and his legacy.

So, between my birth and my death, what kind of life do I want to live? Do I want to live a life to the fullest? Do I want to fill the in-between with fulfilling God’s purpose? Do I want to have a life well lived? YES, I DO!

The 24 hours that we are given everyday is enough.

 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them…

Maybe we need to take a few things off of our over-full plates.

Maybe we need to start something that we have been putting off out of fear.

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing…

Maybe we need to mend a rift in a relationship.

Maybe we need to end or release a relationship.

a time to search and a time to give up…

Maybe we need to look for the good in life.

Maybe we need to stop looking for empty happiness.

24 hours is enough to live the life that I have been called to.

You have the same 24 hours. What are you going to do with them?

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Skin Deep

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Makeup And Cosmetics Set

1 Peter 3:3-4 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

 The women’s Bible study that I lead on Monday evenings is working through Beth Moore’s Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman. Such a challenging study. Such a needed study for today’s women who are constantly bombarded with the message of “you are not enough”. We are constantly being told that we need to be thinner, blonder, taller, richer, healthier, fashionable, workout more, be more accomplished, and more educated.

One point that Beth Moore brings up that has really stuck with me is this:

It’s tough being a woman in a world where beauty is a treatment.

 In 2012, Americans spent $11 BILLION on cosmetic surgery. Now, I’m not talking about reconstructive surgery due to catastrophic incidents that cause physical injuries or deformities like breast cancer, burn victims or car accidents. I’m talking about elective surgeries. These include 13 million cosmetic procedures like facelifts, 286,000 breast augmentations, and 6.1 MILLION Botox injections. Americans also spend $2.6 BILLION per year on gym memberships. Women in America spend $426 BILLION on cosmetics every year.

Now before you think that I am completely against these types of things; let me set you straight. I am not giving up my make up, facial creams, gym membership, my collection of shoes, my hair coloring appointments or my Spanx. I feel no conviction or guilt about using them nor do I intend to.

But I will declare this: these outward trappings are not who I am.

I don’t place MY worth in them. They don’t define who I am. Christ is my identity. Redeemed daughter of the King is my status. My worth is found in the ultimate price that Christ paid.

Peter wasn’t against those things either. He was basically saying, “Ladies, you are beautiful from the inside out. Being so elaborate in your dress, hairstyles and jewelry is distracting from who you really are. The work that Christ is doing in you through your words, your countenance and your actions is what God values.”

I must admit that this is something that I have to remind myself of often. I have to fight my insecure self. That little nagging voice that says, “You should be thinner. You have some wrinkles. You have cellulite (hence the Spanx). You’re not as together as you should be. Should you be wearing that?” Oh, that voice. It sounds just like me! I know that I am not alone in this struggle.

Our beauty will fade. Our breasts cease to be pert and slide sideways into our armpits when we lay down. (You know exactly what I’m talking about!) Our hair will become less shiny and full. Our eyes will need glasses. Our thighs might look like a relief map. Our hands and feet may have more spots than a leopard.

All these things can happen. And probably will. Maybe they have already started to happen. Let me remind you of Psalm 45: 11 Let the King be enthralled by your beauty.

The Lord is enthralled with your beauty! He loves you body, mind and soul. You are his beloved daughter. You are enough.

If all we have is our outward beauty; then we are beggars indeed.

Proverbs 31:25a, 30. She is clothed with strength and dignity….Charm is deceptive, and beauty if fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Come Unto Me

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Christian Background - Confession

“Come unto me.” Matthew 11:28

It is not humiliating to be told that we must come to Jesus! Think of the things we will not come to Jesus Christ about.  If you want to know how real you are, test yourself by these words–“Come unto Me”. In every degree that you are not real, you will dispute rather than come.  You will quibble rather than come. You will go through sorrow rather than come….As long as you have the tiniest bit of spiritual impertinence, it will always reveal itself in the fact that you are expecting God to tell you to do a big thing and all He is telling you to do is to “come”

–Oswald Chambers

The Table

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Luke 22:14

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.

I love the picture of Christ and his disciples reclining at the low table. Sitting on large pillows, leaning against each other as familiar friends can do. Sharing bread and wine. Maybe they are talking about how crowded the streets of Jerusalem are during this particular Passover. Maybe they are still amazed and bewildered about the impromptu parade that just happened when they entered the city. Maybe they are sensing that something significant is about to happen and they are each speculating about what that something might be.

The Table. In scripture, the table is a sacred place. Eating a meal together was a holy event. Mealtime was the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise according to Exodus 16:12 “Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’” The meal was a tangible reminder of God’s daily provision. “Give us this day our daily bread” as the Lord’s Prayer reminds us.

In our modern, busy everyday lives, we seem to have lost the sacred practice of gathering and sharing a meal together. Families are going in a hundred different directions. After school activities, sports, social events, etc. seem to take more and more time away from the family table. Meals are picked up at drive-thru windows and eaten in cars between activities.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has conducted surveys regarding the benefits for children when eating family meals together was a priority. Here is a short list of some of their findings:

  • Families eat healthier meals
  • Children less like to be overweight
  • Children more likely to stay away from smoking
  • Children less likely to try alcohol
  • Children less likely to try marijuana
  • Children less likely to use illicit drugs
  • Improved school grades
  • Improved communication between parents & children
  • Parents more likely to hear about problems
  • Children feel more connected to parents
  • Less stress and tension at home

Dr. Anne Fishel of thefamilydinnerproject.org says this

             “Most American families are starved for time to spend together, and dinner may be the only time of the day when we can reconnect, leaving behind our individual pursuits like playing video games, emailing and doing homework. Dinner is a time to relax, recharge, laugh, tell stories and catch up on the day’s ups and downs, while developing a sense of who we are as a family.

Over the past 15 years researchers have confirmed what parents have known for a long time: sharing a family meal is good for the spirit, the brain and the health of all family members. Recent studies link regular family dinners with many behaviors that parents pray for: lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression, as well as higher grade-point averages and self-esteem. Studies also indicate that dinner conversation is a more potent vocabulary-booster than reading, and the stories told around the kitchen table help our children build resilience. The icing on the cake is that regular family meals also lower the rates of obesity and eating disorders in children and adolescents. What else can families do that takes only about an hour a day and packs such a punch?”

 When I was growing up, we had dinner together almost every night of the week. Some of my sweetest memories of childhood involved a gathering around a table. The food wasn’t fancy. I grew up in a family of 5 children plus my mom & dad. The meals were prepared with love and that is what made them memorable. The food and the fellowship both leaving indelible marks in my heart.

Today, my own family makes family meals a priority. It’s important. It’s the time when we sit down, as a family, share our day, slow down and nourish our souls and our bodies. (The above picture is my actual kitchen table)

Most of us have a table. It might be round, rectangular or square. It might seat 2 people or 10. Family meals don’t have to be gourmet or fancy. They just need to happen. We need it. Our children need it.

Turn off your cell phone. Gather your loved ones. Prepare a meal. Pull up a chair. Be present in the sacred moment.

You are not alone

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Young woman depression isolated on black background

Isaiah 53:3-4 He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;

If you are grieving or hurting. If you are suffering unbearable loss. If you are struggling…YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Christ is walking with you. He weeps with you. He loves you. Pour out your hurt to Him. He understands. Embrace the grief and weep.