Monthly Archives: January 2013

Just for Today

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This message was originally posted by LCC Daily Devotion <devotion@lutheranchurchcharities.org>

I wanted to share it with you…just for today.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms 118:24

Take a moment and ask yourself, ‘Is this how I live?’ If not, make some changes! Just for today, I will enjoy each moment to the fullest and try not to tackle my whole life’s problems at once. Just for today, I will try to improve my mind by learning more than I know; I will read God’s Word faithfully for it is my source of wisdom and strength. I will be particularly sensitive to those Scriptures that require personal obedience, corrective action, and greater commitment. Just for today, I will be agreeable, try to look my best and make sure my words are ‘seasoned with grace.’ Just for today, I will not find fault or try to change or improve anyone – except myself. Just for today, I will have a plan and a goal. I might not follow them exactly but I will have them nonetheless. By doing that I will save myself from two enemies – hurry and indecision! Just today, I will develop my character. I will do someone a good turn and keep it secret; if anyone finds out it will not count. Just for today, I will do something I don’t naturally want to do, thereby train my spirit to rule my flesh and my will to rule my emotions. Just for today, I will not be afraid to love or to risk; I will take steps of faith that stretch me beyond my present comfort level, try to enjoy all God’s blessings, and believe that every seed I sow in His Kingdom will be multiplied back to me many times over. This is how I will live – just for today!

 

 

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We begin to die as soon as our lives begin

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We begin to die as soon as our lives begin

This is a bit of a mind bender for me.  When I came across the quote that follows it struck me in a way that I haven’t been able to forget about it.  That’s unusual in these days where I can’t seem to remember where I last placed my keys, my shoes, my glasses or remember my passwords.

“How is it that the Eternal should make so much of mortal man, who begins to die as soon as he begins to live?

The quote is attributed to Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  I read it in relation to Psalm 144.  Bless the Lord, who is my rock.  He gives me strength for war and skill for battle.  He is my loving ally and my fortress, my tower of safety, my deliverer.  He stands before me a shield, and I take refuge in him.  He subdues the nations under me.

Wow.  Those are metaphors of enormous strength, power and protection.  I think it’s saying that God is totally AWEsome; there is nothing like Him, AND yet, He is really there watching out for us.  With His power and might why does He care to think about each and every one of us?

The Psalm continues-  we are like a breath of air; our days are like a passing shadow.   Here’s the connection with Spurgeon’s quote. We begin to die as soon as our lives begin.  We don’t know how long we have on this earth.  That’s obvious from daily current events that share heartbreaking stories of lives gone too soon.

How does it all affect me? I think I need to start asking what I should be doing today that reflects God’s will for me.  I guess the step before that is to allow God’s will to breathe in me.   I’ve always been one who wanted the obvious message from God.  I wanted and angel to be in my face redirecting me, or God to post a giant billboard that gave me specific direction.  It hasn’t happened that way.  In fact, I’ve probably wasted time waiting for those monumental alerts.  I’m going to  pray to notice the small signs, openings, feelings that might be a gentle nudging from Heaven.

One of my favorite sentiments from John Baille says, “Let not the noises of the world ever so confuse me that I cannot hear You speak.  Suffer me never to deceive myself as to the meaning of Your commands and in all ways let me obey your will.

We begin to die as soon as our lives begin.  I don’t have time to be bothered by noise.  None of us do.  Time is ticking away.  What have I done for Him lately?

I saw Jesus at breakfast!

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After a fun filled night with friends, the group of us were having a buffet breakfast at a local hotel.  The conversation went from frivolous to serious fairly quick.  I’m dealing with a lot of change in my life right now and frankly, I can’t say I’m doing a good job.  I’ve tried to keep my head up like a good buckaroo, but I’ve allowed gremlins to sneak in and confuse, undermine and perplex me.  

Like it or not, and for the moment it is not, my family is going to be moving out of state for the purpose of my starting a new job.  This was not my plan.  I do not want to go.  I feel pushed into this situation and I’ve had some strong feelings about it.  

A year ago I lost a key client I worked with and losing that business turned my world upside down.  Aside from the financial toll, which has been extreme, the emotional pressure of this situation brought me down and has had me pinned to the floor regardless of my cries screaming, uncle, uncle!

I was emotionally incapacitated for the second time in my life and though I was better equipped to handle it this go around, I didn’t avoid the turmoil, tears, darkness and fear that surrounded me like Pig Pen’s dust cloud.   I fell prey to it all and I’ve been slowly crawling back to a place where I can talk about it all without falling apart. 

It’s amazing what anxiety can do to you.  For me it strikes suddenly and unexpectedly.  I’m amazingly gifted when it comes to keeping my feelings deep down inside of me and covering the blemishes of my life so that no one knows any better. However, I can’t keep that up for long and, without resolve, the truth surfaces and I am in a ball on my bed with tears streaming down my face.  

So my friends and I are discussing the various possibilities of where my life will lead.  You see, at the end of February my family and I will officially be leaving our current home and need a place to stay for about a month.  We don’t know where that will be yet.  After that month, we will likely be moving to one of two different states, but we don’t know where that will be yet.  We think I will have a new job and that job will determine the state we are moving to, but we don’t know that yet. We aren’t sure if our child will finish out her school year where she is or be transferring to a new school.  We don’t know where to put the things that we are packing up and I’m trying to reorganize a business that also comes with a lot of “things” to move somewhere.  It’s complicated.

I’m sharing with my friends to answer their many questions pretty much relating to what I’ve mentioned above.  I admit that I have come to the conclusion that God needed to take away the things I’m so dearly attached to in my life so that I would end up making some decisions to do things I wouldn’t have done otherwise.  In a million years I would not be considering moving to another state had I not lost the business contract I mentioned.  Losing that contract made our house very difficult to pay for and after time we came to the conclusion we had to sell it.  We didn’t know where we would be going, but we couldn’t afford to remain in it.  We sold the house in three days of being on the market and there were four offers on it– all which were worth consideration.  The closing took some time to organize so we were able to stay in the house longer than we anticipated.  I have had half a dozen job opportunities come my way…not a single one where I live now.  My husband did get a new job in our current state and it will transfer to one of the other states if we end up going that direction.  My daughter is excited to be moving- and I can’t explain that at all.  I’ve been offered a position, out of state,  on a contractual basis to try it for three months before making a final decision.  That gives me some continued freedoms and helps me ease out of my current business.  Since we don’t have to move yet we’ve been fortunate to be able to rent back our home for most of the time I’m consulting so we do have a place to live.  Several friends have offered us a place to stay the final month before we actually need to move.

I’m going over how this plan, none of which was my own, seems to be working itself out perfectly, even without my support,  and I’m reflecting on Jesus’ love, purpose and will for my life.  As I’m talking about this the chef walks by our table with a big smile on his face.  He is dressed superbly in crisp white and his name is beautifully and clearly embroidered on the front side of his outfit.

Guess what the chef’s name is? 

“Jesus”

 

Psalm 143

A psalm of David.

Lord, hear my prayer,
    listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
    come to my relief.
Do not bring your servant into judgment,
    for no one living is righteous before you.
The enemy pursues me,
    he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
    like those long dead.
So my spirit grows faint within me;
    my heart within me is dismayed.
I remember the days of long ago;
    I meditate on all your works
    and consider what your hands have done.
I spread out my hands to you;
    I thirst for you like a parched land.[a]

Answer me quickly, Lord;
    my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
    or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
    for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
    lead me on level ground.

11 For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life;

    in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
    destroy all my foes,
    for I am your servant.