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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Always Start With God

Pray first. Before you do anything else, pray. Ask God. Seek God. Search out God.

I would love to say that petitioning God is the first thing I do when I need help or advise. But, it is not. In fact, sometimes it seems to be the last thing I do. I cannot really say why. If I could pinpoint a reason for not praying first, then at least I would have a starting place for getting this mindset adjusted.

Is it timing? Do I think everything has to addressed immediately? Yes, I guess I do. I know I am a "get the ball rolling" kind of woman. If there is something wrong I want to get a plan in place to fix it right away. Full speed ahead is my game plan. I have a list written and the car keys in my hand, and I am out the door to take care of it all. So, how is this working for me? Sometimes it works, but I think in those times it is because I have already been through a similar situation and I have lived the plan of attack. This may mean I do not learn from my previous mistakes, but that is topic for a totally different blog. The other times, the plan falls short, the ones I am including in the arrangement do not see it as I do, or it is just a dumb idea in the end.

Maybe I do not turn to God first, because I think I am pretty capable of figuring everything out and bringing it to completion by myself. It is not that I do not what God's help, it is just that "my self" gets in the way. I know that I can do this. I am willing, so I must be able. I will pray later if I see that I cannot handle this one alone. There is always time to call in God. Really? I need to rethink this thinking.

Prayer is our breathe of life in our walk with God. Prayer is our way of communicating with God. It helps us grow closer and become more connected. The Bible has a lot to say about prayer. God wants to spend time with us. Yes, you read that correctly. HE wants to spend time with us. He wants us to ask Him for direction and help. Jesus demonstrated for His followers how to pray to the Father, and we can copy that model.

I long to be the type of woman who always goes to God first. Instead of calling a friend for her input, I need to go to God. Instead of writing a to-do list, take my requests to Him. Rather than forge ahead blindly, rest in Him and wait for His guidance. Search the Word and not a self-help article.

I am so thankful that God knows my heart. He knows I am self-centered, prideful, and presumptuous. But, He also knows that I want to please Him. I want to spend time with Him. I want to hear from Him.

May we slow down and get our focus on Jesus. May we pray first, always starting with the One who knows the beginning and the ending and wants to see us through it all.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Don't Worry About It

"Be anxious about nothing..." Philippians 4:6

Really? Don't worry? About anything? Seriously? Well, you are not raising my teen agers.
You are not living with my husband, or caring for my elderly parents, or trying to make ends meet on our income. You are not answering to my boss. You do not have my health issues. If you did, you would not be telling me to not worry or be anxious.

Have you watched the news lately or read the newspaper? There is political unrest in every nation, the stock market looks like a roller coaster, there are natural disasters every day. And meanwhile, God is instructing us not to worry, not to be troubled, not to fret.

I know these are the things that are running through your mind, because they do mine as well. How do we find quiet in turmoil? How do we calm down when we seem to have a constant headache? The answer is Jesus. He is the answer. Jesus is the only answer. Knowing Him is knowing peace. Trusting Him is ridding yourself of the constant unrest that comes with living in this world. Loving Jesus brings a quiet stillness that cannot be found in anyone or anything else.

I have come to the conclusion that worry is the opposite of trust. If we truly have our confidence in the Lord, then worrying about things we have no control over is actually insulting to Him. If we say we trust Him, but then we live with constant anxiety and fear, then in reality, we do not trust Him at all.

The people I love the most in my life are the people I trust as well. I do not think I could have a personal and intimate relationship with someone I did not trust. True love goes hand in hand with total trust. And, as all of us have experienced, these loved ones are very capable of letting us down and breaking our trust.

But, Jesus is the One that deserves our trust. We can put our hope in Him. We can rely on Him and depend on Him. If we could reach the point where we could say, "Not my will, but Yours Father", we would have reached the place that would allow us to be as worry free as is humanely possible. I cannot say that we will ever reach the point that we can be anxious about nothing one hundred percent of the time. But, I can say that God has never let me down. Every time I make the decision to place my concerns and fears in His hands, He has proven Himself worthy of my trust.

I cannot promise you much, but, I can promise you this. Each time you place your worry in God's hands, you will find a peace that other wise would not make sense. We do not know what tomorrow holds, but we can put all of our tomorrow's in very capable hands. God would not tell us not to worry if it was not possible for us to do just that. He does not ask anything of us that we cannot achieve. Start today. One concern at a time. Watch what He will do. He is capable. You can trust Him. No need to worry about that!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Changes

"...anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

In 1988 a book was written by Spencer Johnson called, "Who Moved My Cheese?" It was a motivational book about work and life, the search for what makes one happy, and how change effects that happiness. Many managers of corporations distributed the book to their employees, hoping it would motivate them to accept change and even enjoy it. Needless to say, there were mixed feelings about the book.

Change is not an easy thing to handle. Everyone experiences it and has something to say about it.

"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."
Victor Frankl

"If you are in a bad situation, don't worry it'll change. If you're in a good situation,
don't worry it'll change." John A Simone, Sr

So, how do we handle change, whether it be just the bump-in-the-road kind, or the one that turns your world upside down? Do we go with the flow or do we fall apart? Are we able to modify without a meltdown? Do we adjust with a remake, a remodel, a rework, or a revamp? Or do we throw in the towel, plug our ears, and have a good old terrible-twos tantrum?

Change and how we handle it can be a choice. It can be our perception of the change and what the change will truly change! It can depend greatly on whether it is our idea or whether it is forced upon us.

My husband and I made some big changes in our lives this year. At 55 years old, we decided to relocate to Virginia to be with our children and grandchildren. We put our house on the market,left some of our family and friends, and resigned from our jobs. All of these decisions to change were our choice. We anticipated the changes we were moving forward with. Changing course was exciting. However, there were changes that we were faced with that were unexpected, and of course were not as enjoyable. There were two job modifications, a house that did not sell as we hoped for and money adjustments. But moving beyond our fear was exhilarating. We anticipated that there would be changes that would test our ability to adjust. And also that would stretch our faith.

Jesus spoke about changes. He said that if you do not change to be like a little child, you will not enter Heaven. (Matthew 18:3) He taught that God will transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. (Romans 12:2) He spoke about becoming a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17) These are not small tweaks. These are life changing transformations. These changes take total trust that God will not only bring about the process but also that He will see it through to completion.

We have all experienced the changing power of God. His changes can bring about alterations in appearance, character, and circumstance. His are supernatural changes.

A quote from "Who Moved My Cheese?" says, "Be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again and again."

You can count on change. But, you can trust that none of them come as a surprise to God. He can change us inside and out. Get ready!