Morning Attitude

Ah. There’s something about that first swallow of hot coffee in the morning, almost indescribable. Of course, if you aren’t a coffee drinker, you’re probably making a face and thinking, “yes, I can describe it – disgusting!” I bet there’s another beverage of choice that gives you that feeling, though. Hot tea, iced tea, milk, Dr. Pepper or Coke (and etcetera….) Maybe it’s just a good long drink of water. It’s a kind of relief that washes over us (ha! No pun intended!); it gives us the feeling that now we can maybe face the day. I confess; I have a morning attitude. Coffee first, THEN talk. I saw the perfect quote the other day, and I’m making it into a sign for my kitchen. “I drink coffee for your protection.” Those who know me well know how true it is. It’s like my mouth doesn’t work, and that’s probably good because my brain can’t dig out anything good.

The other thing I absolutely need every morning is time with God. I know that He doesn’t care if my mouth works or not, He cares that I spend time with Him. When I miss my morning time with Him, my morning attitude morphs into an all day attitude …. and it isn’t pretty. Just like my body needs that “wash” of coffee, my attitude needs to be washed daily by God’s Word and His Mercy. It still amazes me sometimes just how drastic my attitude adjustment can be. Does your attitude need to be adjusted? Spending time with the LORD is every bit as vital to our wellbeing as anything we can drink or eat. Our souls need nourishment, too.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7‭-‬8 (http://bible.com/111/jer.17.7-8.NIV)

GOD IS NOT DEAD

It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that I am able to survive & thrive here in this world. When I try living life without Jesus, I am a miserable mess. I spent years searching for happiness, as the song says, “Looking for love in all the wrong places…” What about you? Are you searching for that elusive happiness – the perfect man/woman, car, job, clothes, things… acceptance? Having so much ‘fun’ that you can ignore the misery you feel? I can tell you unequivocally, with total assurance, there is only one path to happiness – ONE Way, and it is through Jesus.

“I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling…. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what GOD has prepared for those who love Him.’ ” 1 Corinthians 2:3,9

Think of the best situation, the absolutely, most breathtaking place you can imagine. Have you been to awe-inspiring places? Seen beauty that is beyond words to describe? Well, imagine those places and things, and heaven will be thousands, no, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of times better! I can hardly wait…. I will get to see Jesus, face to face! I’ll see my earthly Daddy, and my Grandma, and other friends and family who have already gone. Will I see YOU there?

ANSWERS

“This is what the LORD says, He who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it—the LORD is His Name: ‘Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:2‭-‬3 (http://bible.com/111/jer.33.2-3.NIV)

God says to us “Call to Me and I WILL answer you….” Seems like a pretty straight forward statement. I wonder why we question it so often, but really, I already know the answer. We question it, because we don’t get the answer we think we want. God ALWAYS answers prayer. ALWAYS. The first problem is that we ask for blessings on a decision we’ve already made, but we decide (WE decide) that God should agree with it. After all, He’s too busy to deal with every decision we make, right? Wrong. He is aware of, and cognizant of, every single thing that takes place on earth and in the heavens. EVERY. SINGLE. THING.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26 (http://bible.com/111/mat.6.26.NIV)

Another problem we create is that we, in our infinite wisdom, think that we can make better decisions concerning our lives than God is capable of. After all, it’s MY life, so I know better, right? Wrong again, and oh, how wrong.

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” Matthew 6:31‭-‬32 (http://bible.com/111/mat.6.31-32.NIV)

“For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the Face of the LORD is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12 (http://bible.com/111/1pe.3.12.NIV)

God sees all we do, and He has an answer for each one of our prayers. Sometimes He says yes, sometimes He says no, and sometimes He says wait. Not ‘maybe’, but ‘wait’. Big difference. Of course, being the impatient, ‘I want it NOW’ people (humans) that we are, we often decide that instead of ‘wait’ God really means that we should just make the decision without His blessings and move on with our lives. Guilty as charged, and let me assure you, from ample real life experience….. when God says to wait, it is in your best interest to put on the brakes and WAIT, because every decision we make has consequences. Some turn out well, while others… well, let’s just say that I have had quite a few epic fails in my life because of my decisions. When I let God steer my life, it is SO much better!

“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” Psalm 37:7 (https://psalm.bible/psalm-37-7)

I still get impatient and want answers NOW, and then I remind myself that sometimes, waiting IS the answer. Ugh.

Trudge, Plod, Slog

Definition: To walk slowly and with heavy steps, because of exhaustion or harsh conditions.

I love to people watch. At a social gathering, or out in public, I often wish I could be the fly on the wall so that I could observe, uninterrupted. (Of course, another part of me wants to be right in the thick of it all. Quite the dilemma, at times, to see which side of me wins!) One observation that I have made many times is that there are so many people who are trudging through life; heads down and shoulders bowed by the weight of their lives. Only this morning, I caught myself doing the same thing…. trudging, plodding, slogging through the house like the entire weight of the world was on me. (In my defense, I hadn’t had my coffee yet!!) Over and over in scriptures, Jesus says not to worry.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear….” Luke 12:22 (http://bible.com/111/luk.12.22.NIV)

Look up the word “worry” and you’ll find many references in the Gospels and in Peter’s and Paul’s letters to the churches in the New Testament. As a Christian, I know in my head and my heart that nothing can be gained by worrying. That’s not to say that I should never be concerned, or that I should just sit back complacently and expect God to provide for me. Plodding through life is a widespread disease, fostered and nurtured by the enemy. When we are overcome with fear and guilt and worry, is it any wonder that we are trudging through the day? Keep this in mind as you face the day:

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And GOD IS FAITHFUL; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (http://bible.com/111/1co.10.13.NIV)

As Christians, we are NEVER alone. We NEVER have to face the day alone. We NEVER have cause to worry. As for my trudging through the day… that is the enemy trying to beat me down. Day to day life can get pretty rough to deal with, but you know what? Even when the enemy wins a skirmish and life becomes more difficult, I know the ultimate outcome. Satan might THINK he has won in my life, so I just have this reminder for him:

“So the LORD GOD said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.” Genesis 3:14 (http://bible.com/111/gen.3.14.NIV)

“Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the concerns of GOD, but merely human concerns.” Matthew 16:23 (http://bible.com/111/mat.16.23.NIV)

And finally:

“And the devil*, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Revelation 20:10 (http://bible.com/111/rev.20.10.NIV) *Satan, Lucifer, the (fallen) morning star….

FOREVER AND EVER, AMEN! No more trudging through life, because I have Jesus!

Heaven

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23‭-‬24 NIV (http://bible.com/111/psa.139.23-24.NIV)

I don’t understand David. He was raised up from being a sheep herder, one of the lowest jobs there were, to king over Israel. Power and wealth were his, and he has “anxious thoughts?” Really? At first glance, it appears that he has it made. He is favored of God and man, and there is nothing he needs. Instead of focusing on all that he had, he looked out and saw a desirable woman – a married woman, at that. Disregarding all of his own beautiful wives and concubines, he wanted somethingthat belonged to someone else. He had EVERYTHING he could possibly need, but he wanted more. Sound familiar? I can look at my own life and see similarities. I’m certainly not wealthy by American standards, but I am comfortable. I don’t have everything I want, but we have a nice house and groceries and the bills are (mostly!) paid. I look around me and I am surrounded by memories, yet I want more. I get anxious about how we’ll get by financially, but God blesses us constantly!

It is so incredibly easy to fall into the “more stuff” attitude that seems to rule America and a lot of the world. We have so much already, but it is never enough. Like the psalmist, we should be on our knees asking God to search our hearts and take away our anxious thoughts. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior as I have, you have – WE have – all that we could ever need. I like the way C.S. Lewis puts it:

“If we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.” – #CSLewis | #TheGreatDivorce

And yet we spend our lives grasping those stupid “souvenirs” …..

Perfect Love

  “There is no fear in love. Instead, PERFECT Love drives fear away. Fear has to do with being punished. The one who fears does not have perfect love.” I John 4:18 NIV
It reminds me that there is no perfect love on earth other than Christ’s Love for us. We try… There are good, even great, marriages out there that we can look to for inspiration. A parent’s love for their child can come close to God’s Perfect Love. We can find inspirational love in looking at people who serve others in so many different ways. There are many examples of love in this world, but even the greatest falls far short of the Perfect Love the Jesus demonstrates for us. If we can’t achieve it, then who can?

Many – and I would say, MOST of us spend our lives searching for that perfect love. We become enmeshed in a marriage with an abusive spouse. We settle for acquaintances instead of friends. We neglect our children in our search for the perfect job, or while seeking to advance our careers. Even in the most loving human relationships we hurt each other. We are afraid of being hurt and in doing so we hurt those around us. Mostly unintentionally, but every day, hour, minute we hurt someone one either through omission or commission. That’s a sad commentary on the human race, but take heart! JESUS loves us with a PERFECT LOVE. He will NEVER leave you or forget you. He will never hurt you! No matter what hurts life, the enemy, throws at you, Jesus is at your side IF you want Him there. I don’t have words to express my gratitude for His Unfailing Love!

No punishment, no condemnation. Just LOVE. Kneel at the throne of Jesus today.

  “And so we know and rely on the Love God has for us. God IS Love. Whoever lives in Love lives in God, and God in them. This is how Love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is NO FEAR in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:16‭-‬18 NIV


(http://bible.com/111/1jn.4.16-18.NIV)

And The Greatest of These

 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails. …. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4‭-‬8‭, ‬12‭-‬13 

Beautiful words; words to live by. Just as Jesus pointed out, and written about by Paul, we are to be united as the body of Christ in LOVE:

  “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.” – 1 Corinthians 12:12‭-‬14 

A Christian is, by definition, in love with the Savior. As Christians, we should be striving to apply that love in every area and every aspect of our lives. Why is it so difficult to love each other? We let so many things get in the way of our love. People, places, things. They will NEVER be enough, and they will ALWAYS disappoint. Welcome to our world. Skin color, economic status, country of origin, whatever …. don’t even bother trying to deny your prejudice. We all suffer from from that disease! It is through our LORD, Jesus Christ, that we can overcome prejudice and live Love. Faith, Hope, Love. ONLY available through Jesus! Hallelujah and Amen!

Let it out so that love can wash over you AND all the people around you.

(Scriptures are from  http://bible.com/111/NIV)