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Battery Saver

At the suggestion of a friend, I got a battery back up for my smartphone. The older my phone gets (yes, it is paid for) the more quickly the battery runs down. I know the feeling!

Recently, the phone needed charging while I was not at home so I couldn’t use the cord.  I had carried the battery with me. As I plugged the phone into the battery, it occurred to me that I am like that. Sometimes I need recharging. Don’t you?

At any time, we can plug into our source of life, which is God. But sometimes, we don’t feel we are close to the cord. It may be stress, hurt, pain, or a sense of being overwhelmed. That is when we need someone else to pray for us and boost our energy. I honestly think God puts people in our lives for just that purpose.

Interceding for each other is so very important. Being able to honestly discuss what we are going through and where we are in our walk is vital. We all need one or two prayer warriors to plug into, with whom we can be totally vulnerable, knowing that they will not judge or chide us. Instead, they will give godly wisdom and prayer support. We know they are filled with power because they have been in the Word, have spent time with God, and have allowed His Spirit to reign in their lives. Life has not depleted their resources. In other words, because they have been plugged in and are fully powered at the moment, they can boost us in our weakened state.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

There will come a time when we will be the battery saver to someone else. Faith in community works that way. Sure, bearing another’s burden may drain us a bit, but we can always be renewed by plugging into the Source on a regular basis.

And here is what convicted me the most. I should always have power stored up in me  — the same way I try to keep my battery charger ready. If I don’t, then when I run low, I will be drained of energy and in search of something to energize me. If I haven’t brought my battery saver as a backup, or have not plugged my phone in for a while, it dies. It is the same with my soul. I need to plug into God through prayer and His Word often or I’ll become depleted. I’ll either seek a temporary fix such as caffeine, chocolate or comfort carbs, or I will lean on someone else over and over again to boost me, draining them.

It is wise to consistently plug ourselves into God’s power.  We all need a holy battery saver (or should I say Savior) for those dark times when the power of our own strength seems to go out. And doesn’t it always seem that power flickers the most during a storm?

Is your battery fully charged and ready?

Barely Thriving

But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God. Nehemiah 9:31

 

Perhaps it’s because I’m a child of the 1960s, but I can’t throw out a plant.

Years ago, I was given a Chinese evergreen in a sympathy basket when my husband died. When it grew, I replanted it and all went well…for a while. Then the leaves began turning yellow, one at a time. A few cat teeth marks appeared on a leaf that had become torn. I kept watering the plant, but finally, the only leaf remaining was the torn one. In fact, one could barely call it a leaf.

But it still was alive. I couldn’t bring myself to carry the thing to the dumpster. I watered it, talked to it, put it in a different part of the room. After a few months, another leaf appeared, and a few more teeth marks. So, I dabbed the leaf in vinegar and moved the plant from the floor to my desk, away from tempted felines. I aerated and added nutrients to the soil. Slowly, another stalk emerged and unfolded into a wonderful green leaf. I propped it with a gardening stick.

Now it has four healthy, thriving leaves. It’s taken almost three years to get this far, but I have hope that one day it will be full and lush again.

Today, as I watered it I heard God whisper into my spirit, “Now you understand how I feel.” When it comes to saving souls, God is even more tenacious than I am with plants. What others may see as worthless, He sees as potential.

Life may have been harsh. Perhaps we feel as if someone has gnawed on our egos awhile or ripped through our hearts. We droop, feeling useless.

Our loving Lord will allow His spirit to nourish us, prop us up, and give us what we need to once again grow. He won’t give up. He is patient. He has the time to continue to care for and encourage us. None of us are worthless in His sight.

Thank you, precious Lord, for your loving, caring, tenacious attitude towards us to have potential but are right now barely thriving. Thank you for not abandoning us, but mercifully nurturing us as we learn to grow in Your spirit.  Amen.

While They Fished

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets. When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.” Luke 5:4-6

Our pastor preached on this account in Luke recently, talking mostly to the men about following their own agenda instead of God’s. But it “got me to thinking”, as we say down here in Texas.

What would Peter’s wife’s reaction have been? Did she wonder where in the world was her husband? Or did she learn from the other fishermen’s wives that they had gone back out in the waters because “that preacher” told them to do it? Did she hitch her hands on her hips and grouse?  Or maybe roll her eyes and stomp off mumbling, “Now supper will grow cold, and he promised he’d help me sweep the floor. Doesn’t he realize my mother is ill and can’t help me like she once did?”

Or did she smile and trust in this Jesus her husband spoke of with such passion.  Did his enthusiasm and new-found faith rub off on her? Did she wait on the shore, peering into the distance over the waves, excited about what might happen next?

Scholars say the men caught enough that day to provide income for their families for three years…the same amount of time they would be Jesus’ disciples during His earthly ministry. Did she wait to see the blessings of Peter’s obedience? Did she dance with joy when they had to gather other boats to bring in the biggest haul anyone had ever caught in that Sea of Galilee? Or had she gone back home, closed the door, and pouted?

 

Let’s take this beyond a husband and wife scenario:

How do you react when others don’t exactly do things the way you think they should?

How about when they follow a godly directive and become a success in what they set out to achieve? Are you happy for them, or does jealousy creep in?

Or do you wonder how come life is so tough for you right now and so easy for others? That their life seems abundant and “overflowing with fish” when you have been casting your nets until your arms are rubbery and not seeing results. Could it be that they were more quick to obey God’s commands no matter how hard or weird or unrealistic they were?

Do you dance with joy at their blessings or stomp away while mumbling?

Will you have faith to believe your day of abundance will come or think maybe God blesses others more than you? Perhaps, God is using circumstances in your life to prepare your nets for the right catch that hasn’t swum in your direction yet.

Do you have the faith and patience to wait, believing that a huge school of fish will veer near to your boat someday? And if it never happens, will you trust God to provide enough of a catch each day as you toil?

When it comes to reeling in what God wants us to catch, how many of us are willing to go out and try one more time…even though we have done it ten-hundred times without success?

How many opportunities have swum by us when we’ve already dragged our boats to shore?

Just some questions I pondered on the drive home from church…

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday

HERE IS ONE I POSTED IN 2016…revamped a bit, of course.

 

While lecturing and book signing in San Antonio, I spent the night with my sister. When I blurry-eyed stepped into her shower, this is what greeted me.

IMAG0128

 

SIN AROMA. I had to laugh. It was 6:30 in the morning and I’d already found God today.

San Antonio is a bilingual city, so labels are in English and Spanish. “Sin Aroma” means “unscented”, but it got me to thinking. What is the aroma of sin? Isn’t it often undetectable?  Unlike natural gas, which is also undetectable, nothing is added to temptations to let us know danger lurks. No nasty, scrunch-up-our-nose odor to warn us to back away. Unless we have our holy prompter inside of us, the Holy Spirit. But even then, do we always obey His whispers?

Sin should leave us feeling dirty.  But too often, don’t we cover it up like an aromatherapy spray?  If you can’t smell it, it isn’t there anymore, right? Other times, it may be masked with an enticing whiff that pulls us in like walking by a bakery just when a batch of freshly baked bread is being pulled from the oven, even though you are on a low-carb diet. Yeah. Been there.

James wrote in his letter, “Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (1:15) The father of lies’ temptations are often what we think we want, need, or even believe is God’s will for us. Whatever it is, he knows it is a lure for us. So we dash ahead without taking it to God in prayer first for verification and blessing. We don’t detect the smell that might otherwise cause us to back away.

Back to the soap I saw in the shower imagery…

The fact that sin can wash over our body and we still “feel clean” is evidence that we live in a fallen world. But when we become part of the Body of Christ and He lives in us, sin’s enticement is more detectable. The more we allow ourselves to be washed in His Blood, the more protected we will become.  As believers, we all need a “body wash” (jabon corporal) to slough off the sins that have begun to stick to us like sweat.  That is why going to church is so important. So we can be in “corporate” worship together.

Hey, I am not trying to revive the 1970’s adage, “Save water shower with a friend.”  (Just to be clear.) But the same way a friend can pull you aside and tell you that you have a smudge on your blouse, as members of the Body we can lovingly and quietly point out a spot on each other’s souls that need to be scrubbed a bit. But spot cleaning doesn’t always do the job.

As individuals, just as we cleanse our skin each day, let us also remember to wash our souls daily by spending time with our Lord.

Now everyone sing …“What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus…”

R and I

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

I found another word twist. I know, I know…but read on. The following two words have the same letters, just in different order. Here they are—

RETIRED
RETRIED

One backs away and quits, the other rolls up the sleeves and gives it another go.

It all depends on where you put the “R” and the “I”. So, what are the “R” and “I”?

I see them as Reason and Interest. Those are the two things that drive us to continue the road we are on or to choose another path. Whatever holds your interest, for whatever reason, will dictate your involvement.  When your interest loses its reason, you give up. But when the reason sparks your interest, you keep trying.

Looking at the verse above (also found in Luke 12:34), I had to ask myself what do I treasure? What piques my interest? What is my passion?  And what is the reason that it does?

Recently I have been questioning and re-evaluating if I should continue to do what I have been doing.  Since most of what I do is writing for Christians, and trying to make a living at it, I questioned if my doubts were from God or the devil. Was God closing a door, or was it being pushed? Should I concentrate on my regular job and ask for a raise or continue to divide my time between the two? Not that I take much stock in astrology, but I’ve been really acting like a Gemini lately. One foot in two worlds.

So, I prayed. I prayed for the reason I write to re-spark my interest. Which, I guess, reveals my heart.

Will I retire from this keyboard or try again?

Perhaps the fact that I am writing this is part of the answer.  Yep, I guess you will be reading these posts a bit longer. May God use them to His glory.

That is reason enough.

Still, I hope they keep you interested.

 

 


I still seeking 20 people who will partner in supporting my digital ministry with the Life Project at $20 a month. If you would like more information on this vital ministry that reaches an average of 600,000 people a month through our two websites, comment and I will respond.

Underground

“that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth…” Philippians 2:10

Today I saw the last part of this passage “under the earth”  in a new way. In my neighborhood, all the utilities have gone underground. Cable, phone, and I think even some of the electrical wires, are now all zipping through fiber optic pathways. No more tangle of wires weaving across tar-coated poles. It looks nicer as far as the landscape.  But out of sight out of mind, you almost forget they still exist until someone has to dig up the street. Then, what a hassle and a mess! Traffic has to be rerouted. People run late. Blood pressures rise.

Sometimes, God works underground. His love flows as a constant current.  We rely on it, and sometimes consciously forget that it is there, until we need a dose of it in our lives. Like flipping on a switch or remote control. Click. “Oh, there you are God. Hi. I need you.”

But we are the conduit of His love as well. We are supposed to be passing it on. to others, letting it flow through us and our day to day lives. It should underground all of our thoughts and actions.   And yet, we are also constantly under construction.

The old adage, “God isn’t through with me yet” is true. We all need repairs. Our emotions and human-ness can interrupt the flow. Sometimes, God needs to put on His hardhat and start digging down deep. At first, we think it messes up our daily routes. We get a tad annoyed. Right?

God’s constructive work can jam up a few things in our lives, but it is necessary work.  One day we all will have an uninterrupted flow of faith and every knee will bow at the name of Jesus. But not yet. Until then, we are in a construction zone, and miraculously, God’s love still moves along in spite of it.

Lord, let me welcome your digging into my life so I can be a better conduit of your love and commandments. In Jesus’ name that one day everyone will worship, amen.

Another Flip

Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt: in vain shalt thou use many medicines; for thou shalt not be cured. Jeremiah 46:11

It’s word time again! This time, I made a typo in a work in progress. I meant to type salve and it came out slave. Yep, the brain went into gear again as the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear.  God can teach us from our boo-boos.

When the L and A flip, the meaning become almost the opposite. One is frightening, the other calming. One is horrid, the other welcomed. So what are the L and A?

I see it as the “L” as Lord/love and the “A” as Anxiety/Anger/Anguish. Follow along, now.

We can be slaves to our negative emotions so quickly. It is as if a little elevator in us suddenly rises when the button is pressed. Either anger surfaces or anxiety levels raise when we are transported out of our comfort zones by circumstances we didn’t foresee. Maybe both ride up our esophagus together, pressing against our heart on the way! It “lords” over us. The A pushes past the L. When we choose our anxiety, anger, or anguish to rule, it enslaves us.  It never goes away. It keeps resurfacing, or it festers deep within us and ferments into bitterness.

But turn to the Lord and give Him our “a”s in life, and the experience can become a salve, not only for ourselves but for others as well. We see it through His eyes and love, rubbing deep into our souls and our tenseness, blood pressure, and worry plummets. He is the cure, our Great Physician. Prayer brings the Lord’s answer. His peace can be the salve that soothes. The Balm of Gilead mentioned in Jeremiah.  In the ancient world, this balm from Gilead was known as a rare perfume oil that was used on all sorts of ailments from headaches to sprains to stomach aches to mental disturbances.  It literally was thought to soothe the soul. The A is followed by the L, changing our reaction.

It is an established fact in the medical and psychological community that the healing capability is often linked with the mental state of the patient. Patients with a positive outlook and a deep faith handle their diseases much better. In fact, quite a few miracles have been documented.

Not that faith heals us physically every time, or when an illness isn’t healed it is due to a lack of faith.  We are, after all, temporal beings. But how we face the adversities of life can make a huge difference in our mental, spiritual and physical health.

So, you choose what will follow after the circumstance presents itself. SLAVE or SALVE.  Does the Lord follow the anxiety or anger and calm it down, or do the anxiety and anger chase after the faith and love we know about and pushes them out of the way?

 

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