What is resting anyway?

I struggle with the concept of Sabbath.

I perfectly understand the Biblical definition, and I agree with it wholeheartedly! But translating that Biblical truth into my life and character is a whole different ball game!

Even when I desperately need rest and spiritual filling, it is still hard for me to “Sabbath.“

I know there is a need to recharge, recoup, relax, restore, and refuel my tired, weary body, mind, Spirit and soul.

Yet demands of life and time restraints keep me from Sabbath! Then there’s financial reasons to not go to a quiet still place, coupled with major character flaws that don’t allow me to truly Sabbath in a home I feel the need to take care of constantly.

And those character flaws I just mentioned, also hinder me from sitting in a beautiful green spot as I do my best to focus while the wind beats on me, the sun bakes me or the bugs bite me! Then my focus is truly taken away and I’m not really resting at all!

What are your excuses? 

What are the habits, the obstacles of life, and the character flaws that keep you from truly having a Sabbath rest?

Maybe you need someone who cares about you, loves you and knows that Sabbath rest is an essential part of a healthy spiritual life!

Enter a faithful friend who knows what you need and cares enough to make it happen!


Getting away to a place where your mind, heart and eyes are free of duties, obligations and responsibilities is key. 

Spending time in Gods creation, reading His Truth, singing songs of worship to Him and resting from work is truly SABBATH!

We ALL need it! God tells us that we do! However, the Biblical mandate to SABBATH is to allow us to focus on God, renew our spirits with His love and presence and to restore our selves back to serving Him.

While it is vital to carve out the important time to Sabbath, it is also vital to not Sabbath for too long!

Quote from the Elijah study by Priscilla Shirer, 

“Comfort and steadiness is what we crave, but overstaying our welcome in one place can rob us of the work God intends to do in us at the next one.”

Sabbath is not intended to be an every day practice. As hard as it may be to get there and truly receive a Sabbath rest, we also must caution ourselves from staying there too long!

You know the old saying,

“Guests are like dead fish: they start to stink after three days!”

So, if we want to maintain a pleasant aroma and still receive rest we must learn to truly Sabbath!

Biblical definition of Sabbath: A day of rest, ceasing from all work, dedicated to the God.

Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy…Sabbath day of rest is dedicated to The Lord your God. On that day no one in your household can do any work.” Exodus 20:8,10

TRUTH BOMB

WHEN WE SABBATH WE ARE RESTORED AND RENEWED!

Returning from that Sabbath experience lifted my spirit and recharged me to serve God with renewed strength! 

I felt like David of old,

He led me to green pastures. He led beside quiet waters. He restored my soul.” 

Psalm 23:2

Speak Truth Love

NEW STRENGTH

Have you ever felt like you are walking through life on old strength? 

That you are doing all of the same things, the same way, and it is all good. But as you walk your feet feel heavier than usual. With each step it feels harder and harder to pick one foot up and put it in front of the other. There may be no reason at all, just monotony, doing the same thing over and over and over again. It can drain our strength and leave us feeling lethargic. This can make the “everyday” feel somewhat overwhelming.  

Or, It may be for a specific reason…you are going through a health issue, someone you love is going through a health issue, you are encountering a serious life change, or maybe a relationship breakdown. Any or all of the above can be overwhelming and drain our strength. Instead of struggling to put one heavy foot in front of the other, it is a struggle to put your feet on the floor and get out of bed.  

I know this feeling. I am by nature a positive, upbeat person. I was taught by my grandma to thank God for the blessing of each new day the minute I wake up. She used to say,

“If you wake up in the morning, it is a gift from God!” Then she taught me to claim each new day for Him! She told me to put my feet on the floor and say to God,

This is the day The Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

While this TRUTH passed down to me from my Grandma has been my practice the majority of my life, I found myself dragging in strength.  Her precious daughter, my sweet Mom, has been dealing with Alzheimer’s. It has been a rough few years, to say the least, but the symptoms were fairly mild for awhile.

ALZHEIMER’S is defined as:

“A progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to degeneration of the brain.”

Now, beside the fact that it defines it as a brain issue, which is most commonly known, it is the word PROGRESSIVE that rings true.

Friends, the last month has felt not just PROGRESSIVE but RAPID!

This has put my sisters and I in a sad position to watch the mom we know and love, “progressively fade away.”

TRUTH IS, I didn’t just need God’s strength, I needed NEW STRENGTH!

And because GOD IS GOD AND I AM NOT, He knew this!

As I leaned into God, knowing He is faithful and true, He showed me something in one of my favorite verses, that I had never seen before. NEW STRENGTH!

But those who trust in the Lord will find NEW STRENGTH, they will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

As I was walking on one of my regular trails, spending the morning with God and feeling like my feet were made of cement, getting heavier and heavier with each step, I just kept walking. Why? Because I knew that leaning into God was all that I could do!

I could not heal my mom. I could not return her to her old self. I could not take care of all of the details. I could not even take the pain away from my sisters!  All I could do was practice the only thing that has ever given me strength, lean into God! Walk in His creation, read His Word, and whisper the verses over and over again to myself that I knew to be true!  

That morning, as I was doing that and feeling the weight of my burden with my old strength, I heard something! It was not a bird, or a dog on the trail next to me. It was not the sound of feet walking next to me. It was a loud rush of air being forced into a hot air balloon! I looked to my left and there it was!

The sound was louder than I had ever heard it before. The balloon was very low. It was hovering over the vines of the vineyard I was walking alongside. I stared at that balloon and at first just noticed it’s bright colors. Then I heard it again. This time it was louder! It was the rush of hot air being pushed into that balloon and causing it to rise!

NEW AIR!  HOT AIR!  

What makes a hot air balloon fly?  A hot air balloon soars up into the air because warm air is lighter than cool air. So when air is heated by the fire blowing through the center of the balloon, it makes the heated envelope of gas less dense than its surroundings. In layman’s terms, the air around the center of the balloon is heated to over two hundred degrees and because warm air is lighter than all of the cool air around it, it causes the balloon to rise.

The more hot air that is pushed into the balloon the higher it rises.

Suddenly I knew why God had brought to my mind one of my favorite verses from Isaiah.

God was showing me that He was able to give me NEW AIR, NEW STRENGTH!

That He alone could and would renew my strength and make it new!

He would not magically heal my mom and restore her health, but He would take care of her, carry her through it, and give my sisters and I HIS NEW STRENGTH to walk lighter and soar higher than we could in our Old Strength.

Do you need NEW STRENGTH today?  

Lean into God He wants to give it to you!

TRUTH BOMB

GOD GIVES NEW STRENGTH THAT HELPS US SOAR!

God will renew your strength, make it NEW and help you walk through any and every situation you encounter!

Speak Truth Love

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

Have you ever built anything?
I mean, really built something! If you have, then I am envious of you! This is simply not a gift that I possess. Actually, it’s not even a “so so” skill that I possess. Actually, all my life I have looked with awe and wonder at people who can actually build something! There really is such an art to it. Now some may disagree with me and say it is more of a method or a process. All I can say is that I can take items out of a box, I can lay them out on the floor in perfect order, I can lay out the direction book and follow steps one, two, three in a distinct and perfect process, but I still can’t build!

Would you please picture with me in your mind the mess that would be laid out on my living room floor as I tried to build some thing that came in 332 pieces inside of a box? It truly would have looked better if I would’ve hung the box on the wall instead of creating the mess I had on the floor and tried to make it into something!

I have said over and over that I do not have an artistic bone in my body! I do not say this to acquire accolades or affirmation. I truly believe that I have other gifts to offer, but artistic gifts are not among them! People have argued this point with me many times. They have looked to the way I dress or to the way I even decorate my house and they have pointed out that I do have artistic gifts.

But I firmly disagree! What I do have is the ability to recognize beauty in something and the way it is put together and re-create or mimic it. As a teacher I used to say, “ I can copy and trace very well, but building it from scratch is not my forte!” Because I lack this natural ability, I believe it has given me an incredible sense of appreciation for those that have it.

I love walking through an art museum and staring at the masterpieces on the wall created out of nothing!

I love walking down crazy, busy, crowded city streets and being awestruck and inspired by the architecture around me. Someone built that out of nothing!

I love seeing the characters drawn freehand  by my brother-in-law and his son! I am flabbergasted by the artwork they create out of nothing!

I used to love to go to work with my dad as a little girl and watch him pull boards out of his truck, measure and cut them to a precise size, place them in the perfect position and pound nails into them to create something out of nothing! By the way, my dad could draw and paint freehand, beautifully! He once drew a horse head that looked so real I expected it to NEIGH! I truly believe their is an artistic connection to building!

I am in awe watching my son-in-law look up a project on YouTube and literally make something perfectly out of nothing!

This truly is a God-given talent that I do not possess! I can recognize it in others and even admire it, but that does not mean that it is a strength of mine.

However, I am made stronger by others who bless me with their strength of building!

Over four years ago now, we moved from Southern California to Northern California. My sister had come over to help me put together my new home in Sonoma County. I had bought a new set of shelves that I wanted to put in my living room. Like all wonderful products these days, it came packed in a box that looked way too small for a set of shelves! Inside the box were all the shelves along with 1 million other pieces! I just left the box laying in the entryway, unopened! As I was busy unpacking other boxes, my sister walked up to the box and said, “do you want this put together?“ “Yes,” I said, “I would love that!”

She opened that box, laid out all the pieces on the floor, laid out the directions, and built that set of shelves in less than an hour! Those shelves are still in my living room today. She has that ability to build! She blessed me with her strength of building and it compensated for a weakness of mine.

I could have gotten defensive knowing she had a strength I did not possess and said, “No, I’ll do it later!” Or, I could have let myself get defeated knowing she had a strength I did not have. If I would have done either one of those things, I still may not have a set of shelves in my family room(my husband does not have this strength either)!

I believe that we become our very best selves when we allow the strengths of others to compensate for our weaknesses! They in turn become their very best selves when they allow our strengths to compensate for their weaknesses!

TWO PEOPLE ARE BETTER THAN ONE, FOR THEY CAN HELP EACH OTHER SUCCEED.”        ECCLESIASTES 4:9

God does not intend for us to live our lives alone! He also does not expect us to be perfect. God knows that we are better when we are together! He also knows that we are most effective and successful when we are pulling on our strengths and allowing the strengths of others to compensate for our weaknesses.

We all have those friends! Those abilities that are weak rather than strong. The question is, will we allow the strengths of others to BUILD us up and compensate for those weaknesses or will we pretend we can do it all by ourselves?

If this becomes our mantra, we are not only cheating ourselves of being our BEST selves, but we are also cheating others from being their BEST selves!

TRUTH BOMB

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES TOGETHER CAN BOOST EACH OTHER UP!

Speak Truth Love

STINKY FEET

Valentine’s Day is Sunday! It is a day set aside to “show LOVE!”

What does that really mean?

In biblical terms it would mean LOVING ONE ANOTHER!

There are many “LOVE ONE ANOTHERS” spoken in the Bible. But when we are talking about a whole day set aside to LOVE OTHERS, I believe we should take our cue from the one who showed the world the greatest love ever, JESUS!

In the book of John chapter 13 we read these tender words from Jesus about His LOVE for His disciples,

“…When Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to The Father, having LOVED His own who were in the world, HE LOVED THEM TO THE END.

So, Jesus gave them a bunch of money. NO!

So, Jesus set them up for life with a home and land. NO!

So, Jesus took them out for a nice dinner. NO!

So, Jesus gave them candy, flowers and a big heart balloon. OF COURSE NOT!

Jesus acted on His LOVE for them, lowered Himself to the dirty ground and washed their stinky feet!

Feet are not known for smelling sweet.

Feet are known to stink! We don’t shake feet, we shake hands. 

Yes, it would be uncomfortable to sit down and put our feet in the air every time we met someone new and wanted to greet them. But, it would also be less sanitary, and possibly down right stinky!

We walk on our feet. Our feet touch the dirty ground. Our feet get pushed into socks and shoes of all kinds. Our feet take the weight of our entire body on them. They feel the pressure of running and walking, stepping on hard blacktop, and rough ground. They step on rocks, gravel and sand. Not to mention all kinds of dirt in every form.

No wonder feet stink!

I am known for being a bit of a “neat freak.” Well, actually, I am known for being a huge neat freak. I like things clean and am not fond of touching dirt. Except to clean it of course, and then I have rubber gloves on my hands. Touching dirt, let alone, stinky feet, would not be something I would sign up to do. Yet, one of the greatest experiences in my life was doing just that!

In the Summer of 2009 we left for Nairobi, Kenya to do mission work alongside missionaries who were already working in the slums there. We walked each day into the slums of the Mathare Valley and witnessed the most detestable living conditions I have ever seen! The mud was thick and dense from years and years of piles upon piles of every gross and dirty thing you can imagine! The stench was overwhelming and caused an immediate gut wrenching reaction. I literally had to hold back the vomit. God was good and day after day we walked the Valley, prayed over it, shared the good news of Jesus with anyone who would listen and interacted with the people who lived there.

My favorite part of the day would be returning to the school the Missionaries built there and teaching the children who came.

As the time of our trip drew near for us to depart and return home, our leaders called us all together. They had set up chairs and wash basins and were calling all of the Kenyan workers over to sit in the chairs. We were going to wash their feet as and act of LOVING ONE ANOTHER.

I washed the feet of an older Kenyan woman who wore sandals daily and walked back and forth in the filthy, dirt of the Mathare Valley slums. I wrapped a towel around my waist and got on my knees, and bowed low to take hold of her calloused feet. I remember going down on my knees and asking God to help me endure the stink and demonstrate His LOVE. By the time I held her foot in my hand and dipped it into the water, tears were streaming down my checks! Her feet were beautiful and they were covered with the same sweet scent of the LOVE of Jesus that mine were!

I held her feet in my hands and washed them and dried them with the towel around my waist and felt like I had never demonstrated LOVING ONE ANOTHER like Jesus told me to any better!

I WAS NOT THE TEACHER THAT DAY, AND SHE WAS NOT THE COOK, WE WERE SIMPLY BOTH THE CHILDREN OF GOD!

DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I HAVE DONE TO YOU? YOU CALL ME TEACHER AND LORD, AND YOU ARE RIGHT, FOR SO I AM. IF I THEN YOUR LORD AND TEACHER , HAVE WASHED YOUR FEET, YOU ALSO OUGHT TO WAS ONE ANOTHER’S FEET.

JOHN 13:12-14

Jesus calls this, Loving One Another.

He demonstrates this Love for us as He Loves His disciples by washing their feet. Feet that walked up and down dirty, dusty roads in leather sandals.

TRUTH BOMB

When we truly love one another it can be stinky and dirty!

Jesus says He Loves His disciples!

He then tells us to LOVE ONE ANOTHER and wash each other’s feet!

February is a month we dedicate to LOVE! We give candy, cards and flowers, but do we “wash one another’s feet?” 

Do we Love each other by doing the hard stuff? 

Do we listen, meet needs, go out of our way and speak God’s Truth in love even when it is hard to say and hear? 

I believe this is what Jesus meant when He told us to LOVE ONE ANOTHER by “washing each other’s feet.”

It may be stinky, it may be dirty, but we are to DO THE HARD STUFF IF WE TRULY ARE LOVING ONE ANOTHER!

I’m looking at Valentines Day a bit differently this year. My prayer is that you will too!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I LOVE YOU!

XOXO

Speak Truth Love

WHO HAS YOUR ATTENTION ?

This may come as a shock to many of you… But when I was disciplining my children, I would get their attention without speaking a single word!

I would snap my fingers twice, wait till I had their attention, and then point to my nose!

My children knew exactly what that meant! They would looks square at me, their eyes fixed on mine. I would not make a sound or utter a single word until I had their full attention.

Did this happen automatically? Of course not! I did not give birth to two robots. This took time, effort and repetition! But I knew that my words were meaningless until I had their full attention.

When I began to speak my words to them I knew that they were listening. They may have agreed or they may not have agreed with them, but I knew that I had their attention and they were hearing what I had to say.

Our Heavenly Father is no different with His children! He wants our full, complete and undivided attention when he talks to us! 

Our Heavenly Father doesn’t just want us listening partially to Him as we turn on our Bible app and go about our daily business. He wants us to sit still, to listen intentively, and to pay undivided attention to the words from His love letter!

Our loving Father doesn’t want us listening to church online while we finish our morning chores. He wants us to be intentional about listening to His words of wisdom shared through our devices!

Our gracious Father doesn’t desire that we pray to Him only when we are desperate and in trouble. He wants to hear our voices coming to Him with praise, questions and requests when we are joyful, when we are scared, when we are elated, when we are frightened, when we have doubts, when we have hopes, when we falter and when we dream. He wants our prayers to be undivided!

It is far too easy in this crazy world we live in to become divided in our attention, pulled from every angle, and virtually unable to concentrate on any one thing for any length of time!

We click one screen to text a friend, we scroll another to keep updated on the latest news bite, we hit the up arrow on our remote and scan more TV programs than our grandparents ever watched in their lifetime! We open up an email while at the same time minimizing our screen and catching up on the latest trends and styles! We listen to a podcast and hear a liberal opinion and listen to another and hear a conservative one. We drive down the freeway and read more signs and billboards then we do ads flipping through a magazine! Our phones don’t just ring anymore indicating there’s a caller with a real voice on the other end…they chime every time an email comes through, they beep every time a text comes through, and they play a jingle every time our favorite team makes the headlines. And if we don’t pick it up, or answer, or read the latest bit of information we feel like we’ve missed out! 

As the saying goes,“ if you don’t post it, did it really even happen?”

No wonder our attention is so divided!

No wonder life feels crazy and out of control! No wonder we feel like all we need is a break!

Maybe it’s not really a break that we need. Maybe what we really need is to give our full, undivided attention to our Heavenly Father!

Maybe what we need more than anything is to learn to give God our undivided attention.

To not just hear the words, 

Be still and know that I am God,” from Psalm 46:10, but to actually put them into practice!

To not pick up that phone call, or respond to that email or answer that text. To not use every spare moment that we have scrolling down our Instagram or shuffling through our Facebook! But to truly meditate on the words, 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge(or listen), to Him and He will direct your paths!” Proverbs 3:5-6

I know it’s easier said than done, but practice does make perfect. One of the ways I’ve found to give God my full attention is to take a road trip. That’s right, you heard me, get into my car all by myself and take a road trip! Or, head out on a trail and walk.

Now of course this means I can’t plug my phone in and start making calls or answering texts or emails. I can’t put in my air-pods and listen to someone else talking. It also means I don’t listen to my favorite podcast! I don’t even turn on the music unless I choose to begin there with some praise music to get me going! I just simply get in my car, or walk down a trail and take a trip, sometimes long sometimes short, and talk to God! 

Then I am still and quiet and I listen. I look out at the gorgeous creation that He made and I just listen. This is one of the ways I have learned to practice giving God my full and undivided attention. I do not know what may work for you, but I do know that He is calling, and His call is one you do want to pick up and answer!

TRUTH BOMB

When God has your undivided attention, chaos ceases, and peace exists!

Speak Truth Love

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO?

Have you ever felt overwhelmed, hopeless, or even distraught? Perhaps you’ve felt frustrated or defeated at the realization that your input feels like a single drop of water into the ocean of issues flooding around you.

I found myself in this situation last week!

I was hit unexpectedly with a necessary change of plans. Ok, I needed to re-set my thoughts, adjust my plans, and move forward. I was knocked a bit off track but recouped fairly quickly. Then a friend called in pain. I wanted to take that pain away and make it all better. No sooner had I hung up the phone before it rang again, and the sobs of a beloved family member broke my heart! All of this swirled around me like a whirlpool of emotion. It was quickly becoming a tidal wave about to overtake me as it combined with my already busy day! My head and heart were overwhelmed. 

I DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO!

I could not fix any of these situations! It was out of my control.

SO, WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO?

YOU PRAY!

Leah prayed and God answered her prayers.    Genesis 30:17

Rachel prayed and her prayers were answered.   Genesis 30:22

Joshua prayed and his prayers were answered.    Joshua 10:14

Manoah prayed and God  answered his prayers.    Judges 13:9

Hannah prayed and God answered her prayers.    I Samuel 1:9

David prayed and God heard and answered his prayers.    II Samuel 7:18

Solomon prays(I Kings 8:22), Elijah prays(I Kings 17:22), Jehoahaz prays(II Kings 13:4), Hezekiah prays(II Kings 19:15), and God hears and answers them!

Above all, Jesus prays…

Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”  Luke 23:34

Jesus prayed and God answered His prayer!

We are forgiven because Jesus when overwhelmed, discouraged, disappointed, hurting and dying PRAYED! He knew where His strength came from. He knew that life on earth is not perfect and disappointment happens, sickness comes, plans are altered, and we need a perfect God to help us through. So Jesus prayed to show us WHAT TO DO WHEN WE DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!

PRAY!

How?

Jesus tells us that to…

This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

Matthew 6:9-13

TRUTH BOMB

WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO, PRAY! GOD ANSWERS PRAYER!

Prayer can never be overused, abused, or inactive. Prayer is powerful because it is the direct connection to our all-loving, perfect God! He always hears and He always answers! 

Speak Truth Love

FOCUSED in 2021

Have you ever been like me, completely self-focused? I mean COMPLETELY!

Oh sure, I give to others, I serve at church, I volunteer in my community, I work and contribute to our finances, I clean my house, I love and spend time with my family and friends…but if you were to look at my life under a microscope you would see that I am SELF-FOCUSED. proud of this. It is not the CHRIST-LIKE behavior that I strive for. 

It is simply and purely the truth of my human nature.

My life under a microscope would reveal that I take EVERYTHING, yes, EVERYTHING very personally! I am far too easily offended. I give, and I am happy about it until someone questions my gift. I readily serve at church with enthusiasm until I receive a negative response. I volunteer in my community with a sense of responsibility until I turn it into an obligation that becomes self-focused. I responsibly work and earn money knowing it is good to contribute to our finances until I grumble and complain because of the strain on me. I clean my house dutifully, proud of keeping it in good repair until I complain because I am sore and tired. Most of all and easiest of all, I love and spend time with my family and friends with ease and pure, unbridled joy, yet I expect so much in return from them! My SELF needs their love back.

While you may be thinking, this is only natural! God created us to love “one another.” It is still a matter of SELF-FOCUS!

I admit Friends, it is tough to live our lives without SELF-FOCUS AND SELF-ABSORPTION! Especially in this world drawing us away from God and focusing us on SELF.

Do the terms, “SELF CARE,” “SELF FIRST” or even “SELF WORTH,” ring a bell? We are bombarded with these phrases. In and of themselves they are not wrong. Problem is, when we hear them and read them over and over again, they can easily become part of our DNA! They can infuse our very beings so that they become our initial and primary focus. When they do, they turn from being a healthy lifestyle to promote and sustain health and become a way of life. When we live this way we become SELF-FOCUSED! We live lives like I described. 

This year of 2021, we are striving for CHRIST to be our main focus! On CHRIST infusing our lives with His strength, His direction, His purpose and His focus. In a matter of speaking….

We are committed to living CHRIST-FOCUSED lives instead of SELF-FOCUSED lives!

Before you get, “SELF-DEFEATED,” take heart! In and of OURSELVES, we cannot do it! But Jesus Christ never intended us to do it on our own. Christ promises that when we give Him our “OLD SELVES,” He gives us a NEW SELF when we live in Him!

MY OLD SELF HAS BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST. IT IS NO LONGER I WHO LIVE, BUT CHRIST WHO LIVES IN ME.” Galatians 2:20

It is possible to live CHRIST-FOCUSED lives, and not SELF-FOCUSED lives, only when we give our old selves(crucify them), to CHRIST and allow CHRIST to live in us!

TRUTH BOMB

GIVING OURSELVES TO CHRIST ALLOWS US TO LIVE CHRIST-FOCUSED INSTEAD OF SELF-FOCUSED LIVES!

We are in this together friends! It is a process only possible through the power of JESUS CHRIST living in us! It is DAILY.

The practice of putting CHRIST first in all we say and do is the first step forward!

Love you all and walking this path with you, step by step!

Speak Truth Love

HITTING THE TARGET

BULLSEYE!

If we do not know what our Target is, how are we going to hit it?

When I looked up the definition for TARGET, the dictionary gave me 4 basic definitions…

#1) “An object usually marked with centric circles, to be aimed at in shooting practice or contests.”

The first definition brought back an immediate memory from High School.

When I was a sophomore in High School we had ARCHERY as our Physical Education Class.

I remember it so clearly in my mind. We were all asked to stand in a straight line, side by side. We were to position ourselves “6 feet apart!”  Sound familiar? This was not for COVID reasons but for our safety. We were each given an archery bow and three arrows.  I remember our P.E. Teacher, Ms. Bee, standing right beside me as she instructed all of us to stand firm with our feet apart, looking squarely at the TAGET in front of us. I have a vivid picture of the leather hand coverings she wore on her hand and wrists. She was obviously not a “novice” at this like her students were! 

Each of us had a large round TARGET that looked to be made out of straw. It was attached to a tall base that had three long legs which enabled it to stand solid and sure.  It was not going to fall over. Even in those crisp, cold, windy days of a Sacramento winter.  

Ms. Bee demonstrated how to place the arrow securely in the bow. Each arrow had a grove in the center back amid the feathers. The grove was there to secure the arrow in place and the feathers were there to help keep the arrow straight in flight. She pulled the arrow back firmly and held it in place. She then instructed us to point the arrow directly at the center of the TARGET, AKA, the bullseye, and have your eye on the center of the Target as you release and let the arrow fly!

I will never forget how fast that arrow flew from her bow to the center of the target. She hit the BULLSEYE! She was not “an expert archiest,” but she was however, practiced and SURE of each step she needed to take to keep her eye on the TARGET and hit the BULLSEYE!  I am sure from time to time that she missed and hit one of the outer, centric circles. But I am also sure that she kept practicing and following each necessary step to ensure her arrows hit more BULLSEYES than circles!

Now the practice of ARCHERY, setting up a “TARGET,” with centric circles on it, and putting the arrow into my bow, pulling back and letting it fly toward the target, made perfect sense as I read the first definition in the dictionary.

But I have to admit, definitions 2, 3, and 4 made me stop and think about targets and shooting at them!

#2) “Any object used for this purpose.”

#3) “Anything fired at.”

and #4) “A goal to be reached.”

While none of these definitions were “shocking” to me, they did ring a strange bell in my mind.

If I am aiming at a target that I intend to hit with an arrow, shot from a bow at quite a distance and with full force behind it, I could do some damage.  If indeed my aim is aimless!

If I take my eyes off of my sure target, and aim at “any object” I use as a target, or at anything I decide to “fire at,” or even at a goal I chose on my own to “reach,” I could cause a lot of damage!

Only when my TARGET is sure and true, will I be able to aim, shoot and hit the BULLSEYE!

I do not want my life to be full of aimless shots at random targets. More than anything, I do not want my careless arrows to be shot out of my bow and hit anything I may fire at randomly.

I want my life to be purposeful! I want to know my TARGET, practice my shots, and aim in the direction my Lord Jesus Christ points me in! I want to read His Word daily, pray to Him daily,  and listen to Him daily so that my Target is solid and my aim is sure!

How easy it is to shoot out thoughtless and careless arrows that hit random targets in whichever direction I point them in? I want to stop, think and pray before I shoot arrows out of my mouth or before they come flying out of my actions. I want to make sure my arrow is pointed directly at the target Jesus Christ has set for me. Then I want to carefully aim and shoot only in that direction!

JESUS CHRIST IS THE TARGET OUR LIVES ARE TO BE AIMED AT!

Everything we say, everything we do, every activity we engage in, every battle we fight or every battle we endure, JESUS CHRIST IS OUR TARGET!

TRUTH BOMB

If you do not fix your eyes on the target and aim for it, you will never hit it!

When we fix our eyes on Jesus we will hit the BULLSEYE every time!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrew 12:1-2

Our Target is not COVID. Our Target is not Crisis. OUR TARGET IS CHRIST!

If your eyes are fixed on Jesus Christ alone, and not on COVID or Crisis, you will hit the Bullseye every time!

Speak Truth Love

THE POWER OF A WORD

We are told that repeating something over 12 times will set it in our minds.

For example, if I am going to the grocery store and do not want to forget almond milk, I repeat “almond milk” out loud 12 times and I am likely to remember to pick it up even if I forget to write it down.

What about holding God’s Truth in your mind? Try it! For 12 days in a row repeat a verse out loud and see how it sticks!

Our minds are AMAZING! They hold massive amounts of information and we can train them to recall information when we work at it. 

Problem is, much of the time we are lazy or lackadaisical at allowing what informational take in and what we recall or focus on.

We scan our social media periodically throughout the day and allow bits and pieces of all sorts of information to infiltrate our brains.

We watch our television screens and randomly scroll through program after program from Netflix to Apple T.V. to Peacock to ESPN and so on. Before we know it the one program we intended to watch has turned into 3, or 4 and our brains have been bombarded with pertinent and meaningless information!

While this system of collecting information may be a nice way to “unplug” and relax, it can prove to have exactly the opposite effect!

I am reminded of a Family Motto we developed for our family when our children were young.

We had several written out “Family Rules” that hung in our home to remind us of our goal of living a Christ Centered Life.

One was,

YOU GET WHAT YOU GET AND YOU DON’T THROW A FIT!

Another, that reminds me of the caution we must realize when exercising the above practices was,

EVERYTHING YOU PUT INTO YOUR HEAD AND EARS WILL COME OUT YOUR HEART, MOUTH AND ACTIONS!

As we say “GOOD BYE” to 2020, and “HELLO” to 2021, I want to commit to living out that family motto!

I want the Word I read about most, listen to most, and speak of most to be CHRIST!

Why? Because CHRIST did everything for me!He died so that I may live!

Christ loved me when I was unlovable. 

Christ found me worthy when I felt worthless. Christ forgave me when I was a sinner.

CHRIST DIED FOR ME!

I OWE HIM MY EVERYTHING!

THE LEAST I CAN GIVE HIM IS THE MAJORITY OF MY ATTENTION AND FOCUS!

While we were still sinners CHRIST died for us.” Romans 5:8b

My focus for my blog this month will be CHRIST!

My goal is to develop a habit of putting CHRIST FIRST.

I Want to practice this in a practical way that will help us develop CHRIST as our “habit” for 2021!

TRUTH BOMB

THERE IS POWER IN EVERY WORD WE SAY SO LET’S MAKE EVERY WORD COUNT!

Will you join me? Will you commit to making your habit of 2021 focused on CHRIST?

I know if we do we will find Hope, Peace and Potential in all we do!

Here’s to changing the curve in 2021!

CHRIST will be our focus and 2020 will be a dim reflection in our rear view mirrors.

Here we go!

CHRIST IS OUR FOCUS IN 2021!

Speak Truth Love

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

TODAY IS “TRUTH BOMB THURSDAY…” 

Wait, how did I miss TUESDAY?

I have been writing my Blog for over 5 years now, and in that entire time I have never missed a “TRUTH BOMB TUESDAY!”

There have been events, vacations, Illnesses, weddings, funerals, dark days and days full of light. There have been early morning posts and late night posts and every time posts in between. But never in my 5 plus years of writing my Blog have I ever missed a “TRUTH BOMB TUESDAY,” until COVID!

When I looked up the most used word in 2020, guess what popped up?

You guessed it, COVID!

COVID has been on everyones mind since the day we were told to, “shelter in place!”  It has consumed our thoughts, curiosities, worries, fears and doubts! It has been on every channel we turn to and has turned face masks into a fashion statement. We dread it, we fear it and we strive to understand it. Whether you dread COVID or think it to be a hoax, there is no denying, it has been the topic most talked about in 2020!

I dwelt with COVID pretty much like everyone else did…learning new ways to “do life,” live out ministry, and maintain relationships with COVID restrictions. As 2020 was coming to an end I felt pretty good about “Surviving the year of COVID!”

Then it came knocking at my front door!

A family member contracted COVID and we had all been in contact with each other! So, the tests were ordered, the quarantines maintained and our family Christmas plans were destroyed.

If you know me at all or if you don’t I’ll fill you in, I do not need a gift at Christmas or anything really at all for that matter, I just need to be with the ones I love! I’m not being a martyr, or trying to sound humble, it is just simply the truth! I just want to be with the people I love! 

We scrambled, we prayed and we just had to realize that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day would be spent alone and there was absolutely nothing we could do about it!

My Christmas Eve plans with my sisters, Christmas morning breakfast with my mom, our trip down to Southern California, and our eggs Benedict with my mother-in-law on December 26th, were all not going to happen! 

CRAZY COVID CHRISTMAS had hit us hard and we found ourselves waiting for test results ALONE!

Had Christmas been ruined? Would Christmas come?

In my head I knew the answer, but in my heart, I needed The truth to penetrate my spirit!

So I sat on my staircase with a cup of coffee in my hand and tears rolling down my cheeks and I began on day one…

JESUS IS:

1.The word 

2.I am 

3.Son of God

4.Redeemer

5.Light of the world

6.Lamb of God

7.Meditator

8.Emmanuel

9.Corner stone

10.Bread of life 

11.The vine 

12.Glory of the Lord

13.Man of sorrows

14.Alpha Omega 

15.Prince of peace 

16.The way

17.Lord

18.Morning star

19.Good shepherd

20.Messiah

21.Son of man

22.Christ 

23.Savior

24.Jesus

As I got to Day 24, I repeated day 22, 23 and 24 over again out loud…

CHRIST, SAVIOR, JESUS!

JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD! Christmas is here and has come and will never be stopped, altered or changed because of Covid or any other problem or circumstance this world will ever face!

As I pondered the fact that the most used word of 2020 was COVID, I realized I could turn it around in 2021!

This crazy Covid Christmas may have caught me off guard and had me post a Truth Bomb Tuesday on a Truth Bomb Thursday, but it did not have to stop me from ending the year 2020 and beginning the year 2021 with the most common word I will use, CHRIST!

Christ is the title given to the Savior of the world! He has saved us from darkness into light! He will save us from COVID or any other struggle we face!

May we not waste another year, another month, another week or another moment focused on anything more than CHRIST alone!

MAY THE WORD CHRIST BE THE WORD WE USE MOST IN 2021!

As we end possibly, the worst year of our lives, may we begin this new year with HOPE, POSSIBILITIES, and FOCUS as we pledge to make it all about CHRIST JESUS, OUR LORD!

TRUTH BOMB

The greatest word we could ever use is Christ!

May we use no other word more frequently than CHRIST in this New Year!

GOOD BYE COVID 2020.

HELLO NEW YEAR OF CHRIST 2021!

Speak Truth Love