Traveling Light, or Packing a Load?

A large but light and cushy pillow lay doubled over on our couch. Wanting to spiffy up some, I took it in one hand and lifted it. Hmmm…this should have felt a lot lighter than it did. Laying it back down and unfolding it revealed a good-sized rectangular rice-filled neck pillow. Ah! That explained it.

It also made me think. Many times we could have had a better, easier and more productive day, but instead pack around unneeded, unnecessary weight. It may not be intentional at all, but there it is, making the task a strain rather than simply and easily done.

Negativity can bring us low! We need to keep a watch, be on the alert, and block what is not in harmony with God’s will. He tells us “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-8‬ ‭KJV‬‬. http://bible.com/1/php.4.6-8.kjv

We pick things up unintentionally, unaware even and pack an extra burden. Some things that come to mind that we take on are the stresses of the day, anxieties, fears, what ifs, rejection. We get loaded down by feeling we don’t or can’t measure up, the fear of failure… the list goes on and on. These are added, unneeded loads we carry. They don’t add joy, peace, comfort, grace nor strength to us, but actually the opposite. They drain us, sapping our strength, pulling us down, making life hard. This is not a picture of the victorious life our Heavenly Father wants for us. What He wants us to carry is not difficult! “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew‬ ‭11:30‬ ‭KJV‬‬. http://bible.com/1/mat.11.30.kjv

It pays to stop and inspect our load every now and then! We are not in this alone. There is help and we need to access and use that help. God tells us to not carry our burdens but throw them onto His broad shoulders and let Him deal! “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭KJV‬‬. http://bible.com/1/1pe.5.7.kjv. We must lay aside some things, cast off some attitudes, choose carefully what we allow to influence us.

Not all that we carry around is bad, but just too much! Do you take on more than you should? When we have too much ‘stuff’ in our hands and our arms are full, we are limited in what we can accomplish, and tasks become far more difficult and time consuming. Some are flat out impossible to do when we are packing that extra load! Just yesterday I had so many bags of groceries, totes, keys and my purse in my hands that I literally had to set some down in order to open the door. All that stuff, those good and wanted items prevented me from access to where I needed to go and from what needed done. I had to lay aside some things and get them later.

Dear Lord, I ask that You reveal to me the unnecessary weights that I am carrying and allowing to settle in my spirit that are not good for me. Help me notice and take care of my attitudes quickly, leaving angst, fear, irritation and dismay behind me. Open my eyes to see what is good and dwell on those things. Show me what is needful for me to do and what is to be left for another day, another person, or just plain left! Thank You for Your tender mercies, grace, wisdom and strength day by day. In Jesus dear name I pray, Amen.

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:30‬ ‭KJV‬‬

http://bible.com/1/mat.11.30.kjv

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Words Are Just Words, Right?

Today’s verse of the day in my Bible app is Ephesians 4:29  (KJV)
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
I got to thinking about just what corrupt communication is.  As a young person (way back when, right?!) I used to think this verse referred specifically to swearing and dirty jokes.  But in more recent years, I have come to think otherwise.
At Christmas we hear children being told that “Santa is making a list and checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty… or nice.”  I think perhaps we should have our own list based on this scripture in Ephesians.
So at the top of MY list of what I consider corrupt communication, yes I have swearing and dirty jokes.  Okay.  But what else could and should go on that list?
How about sassing?
Cleverly hidden insinuations?
Snide remarks.
Cutting comments.
Put downs.
Ugly comparisons.
Boasting.
Bragging.
Lying.
Deceitful sidestepping of the truth.  (those little white lies, right?)
Rude comments.
Superiority, even in the inflection of the voice (another form of put down)
Gossip.
Slander.
Backstabbing.
Tactless blurting rather than tactful sharing.
Grumbling.
Dismissals.
The list could go on and on.  And I am freely admitting I have to work at it to be free of a lot of these.
So what is the big deal, and why does it matter?  Because, 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.  Proverbs 18, (KJV)
We speak thoughtlessly, not considering that by our very words we are giving life or taking life… we are giving support or we are undermining…we are strengthening or we are weakening.
We do this not only to others, but to ourselves as well.  Think on this a bit!  Who speaks more negative into your heart and life than yourself?  Would you take the negative garbage you thoughtlessly sling at yourself from anyone else?  And why do we believe that garbage about ourselves?  We compare our worst with the best of others.  Unfair!!!  It is not true according to God’s Word, so whose report do we believe?
Let’s work at getting it right.  Let’s set a guard against thoughtless words and mindless self-talk!  Let’s stop with the unforgiving, hateful thoughts so we don’t have stuff there to spew in the next heated moment!  Sometimes at home is the hardest of all for me to contain my tongue and be kind.  I just ‘let ‘er fly’ … and then regret, have to ask forgiveness of God and my loved one(s) and then forgive myself.  Why do I need to guard my thoughts?  Because in Matthew 12:34b  (KJV) we learn that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
And lets not minimize the damage by claiming we were just kidding!  What is in the heart comes out when we speak, especially when something aggravates us.  So we must be careful what is allowed to remain in our system!  We need to cleanse our hearts, or in other words, keep short accounts.  Instead of holding grudges, nurturing hurts and recounting wrongs done, let’s deal with stuff, sort through our motives, be aware of and direct our focus to honorable thoughts, and clean up our act!  Philippians 4:8 and 9 in NKJV sums it up nicely:  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things arelovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
And again, in The Message:  8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
Lord, I thank You for this reminder today of ways to live in harmony and peace.  I pray that I have the mind of Christ this day, that I think upon the lovely, the good, the uplifting things.  Help me to look upon the negatives in myself and others with a heart of love and compassion, giving grace and forgiving, ever changing more and more into Your image.  Thank You for these blessings!  And may I be a blessing, an encouragement, a strengthening to my world.  In Jesus Name and for His sake I pray, and I receive this blessing!  Amen.  And AMEN!
Psalm 19:14King James Version (KJV)  14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Thankful

We have so much to be thankful for!

One huge thing is God constantly encouraging us to draw closer to Him.

I am thankful for good books, good people, Christian radio and TV programs, cd’s and even old audio cassettes that turn my heart to the Lord and draw my attention to what is most important: Living for God, becoming more like Him, learning more about His ways and what He wants me to be.

Not do, but be. He wants me to be more like Him. He wants me to enjoy Him. He wants me to love Him and others as He first loved me…unconditionally, forgiving and rejoicing in the grace and forgiveness given ME so freely. Thank you Lord for reaching out to me through all these avenues and ever calling me to Be Like You. It’s a process… and so worth it.

The Joy of Obedience

My precious niece Denise has again so deeply touched my heart with truth shared.

neeserisms

I like the word joy.  It brings a smile to my face just saying it…go ahead and try …”JOY”…aahhh, sweetness.  Wouldn’t you know it though, obedience doesn’t roll off the tongue quite so smoothly.  I don’t feel like partying when I hear that one!  Who wants more joy in their life?  We all raise our hands.  Who’s interested in becoming more obedient?  Cue the crickets.

When I say obedience, it conjures up the same feelings I tend to get when I hear words like, selflessness, humility, sacrifice or surrender.  No smile appears on my face, rather I often feel a sense of dread, like I need to brace myself, or even fear, wondering what’s this going to cost me?  My self centeredness is showing again.  Anyone out there know what I’m saying?

As a child I had a healthy fear of Dad and I can remember, especially during the summer…

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You’ll Be There

It was April 1, 2002, around 9:45 a.m.  I was at work, the librarian for our local elementary school.   I began feeling slightly light-headed, slightly nauseous and somewhat concerned.  By 10:30 a.m. I had notified the teacher whose class had come in for Library Class, as well as our secretary, that things were escalating in my system for whatever reason.

Long story short, by the end of May a tumor had been located in the region of my left ear (Acoustic Neuroma) and needed to come out.  It was small, but would double in size over and over if not removed.

I had never had nor needed surgery, and this was rather daunting to face.  There would be a regular surgeon AND a brain surgeon in attendance as part of my skull behind my left ear had to be removed and the tumor accessed near the brain.

Well, nerves and fear and questions hit from time to time.  One day when I was overly concerned, I sat in our rocking chair and was praying for guidance and peace once again.  The Lord dropped into my heart the assurance that He would be there with me.  He even started giving me a message in prose and the music to go with… and it became this song, “You’ll Be There” that I will share below.

As the words to the second verse formed in my mind, I could picture a dark sky and rough, stormy ocean with an old-time fishing vessel making its way through the waves.  Then, what joy, there at the front, standing boldly erect with hand raised and pointing straight ahead into the dense dark fog, stood Jesus…showing the way.

What a peace descended into my heart!  God reminded me that whatever the situation, whether I can make sense of it or see the way from here or not, He is there with me, guiding the direction to go and pointing out the safe way to head even in the rough and turbulent times of my life.

How loved we are, for our patient and gentle Father to listen to our hearts’ cries, gently calming the fears of His children.  He does not condemn nor rebuke us, but lovingly reminds us we are not alone, even when He leads us through the storm, rather than calming it.  Without correcting us He speaks peace to our hearts and reminds us we are not alone.  He is faithful, ever ready to answer the cries of His children and comfort with His presence.   Yes, it is a comfort to know He’ll be there with us through the storms of life.

 

YOU’LL BE THERE

Lord I don’t know what lies ahead

Sometimes my heart is filled with dread

But this one thing I know—You’ll be there

Guiding my feet along the way

Holding my hand from day to day

Thanks, Lord, for I know You’ll be there.

 

When bad news comes to overwhelm

I see You standing at the helm

It comforts me to know You are there

You show the way that’s safe to go

Through journeys rough it’s good to know

I do not walk alone — You are there.

 

Copyright 2002 by Patricia A. Hunter

Oh To Hear Him!

Have you ever gotten so caught up in reading something that time gets away from you, or you read more than ‘assigned’ for a daily reading?  Well it happened to me again.  In my daily scripture writing (see Facebook group DAY BY DAY SCRIPTURE &  JOURNAL), all of March to date has been from John 1.  I got so caught up in the happenings of verses 29-31 yesterday that I didn’t notice I had completed the day’s scripture assignment and wrote verse 32 as well.  Today I wrote the remainder of today’s writing:  verses 33 & 34.  It stood out to me (1) how John heard from God ahead of time what he would see, what it would mean, and Who would be in his presence, and (2) how important that knowledge was for the entire future of all mankind, and (3) how important it is to hear God when He speaks to each of us!

(NKJV). John 1:32-33  “32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

Remember, John the Baptist was the cousin who, pre-birth, leapt in his mother Elizabeth’s womb when Mary, mother-to-be of Jesus, entered Elizabeth’s home and spoke.  The Spirit in John recognized being in the presence of Christ!  (Luke 1:41 NKJV  And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.)

So John heard the Spirit tell him that he would see the Spirit descend upon and remain upon The One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.  (Jesus Himself.)  Because John listened, he took note when at the Jordan baptizing people in water, when he saw the form of a dove landing upon a man.  And when it remained, he knew that this was who they had been looking for; it was Jesus, the promised one!

Just before coming into the living room to write out my scriptures for the day, and as I walked through our kitchen, I wondered if there are any answering machine messages.  I don’t usually think that while here in the house, but that is what came to my mind.    And I figured likely not…we haven’t had any for quite some time.  Yet because I ‘heard’ that thought, I looked … and there was the flashing light and little beep telling me we had a message waiting for us.  Now I am not saying that it was God who alerted me to check for a phone message, but at the same time, I enjoy these little ‘reminders’ that it just could be Him making me aware to “stay tuned”, as the old tv shows used to tell us!

I want to be so in tune with Him that I hear Him.  I do not want to miss even the little things He has for me, much less the big things God has for not only me, but those whose lives I can influence for good by hearing His directive and obeying.

My prayer:  Dear Lord, cause my heart to listen to You above all the distractions and interruptions of my days, so I can follow You and not miss out on the blessings that hearing Your voice and directives will bring me and those in my sphere of influence.  In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!

Seek Ye First

SEEK YE FIRST

 

We sit alone and wonder, “Lord, when will my turn be?”

When all the while He’s calling, “Child, come; spend time with me.”

“Seek ye first the Kingdom,” is what we’re called to do

“And then,” He says, “these other things will be added unto you.”

 

We want the Lord to hear us, when we turn to Him and cry,

Yet to yield and do His bidding, we only weakly try.

There’s so much to distract us: our daily work and play–

That to our heavenly father, we seldom stop to pray.

 

We mean to do His bidding, and answer to His call,

But easily lose focus.  Our strength indeed is small.

Oh Father please forgive us.  Cause us to understand

The importance of obeying, and fulfilling our Master’s plan.

 

For souls about us are dying without a shred of hope.

They have no faith in Jesus, they don’t know how to cope.

They’re lost without a compass, so tired–in need of rest.

They do not know God loves them, and offers them His best.

 

That’s why we need God’s power to live His love each day

To shine God’s light upon the path for those who have lost their way.

His strength in us is perfect when our weakness we give to Him

He takes the foolish of this world to confound those who need Him.

 

Let’s lay aside the habits and things that now sidetrack

That keep us from God’s purpose, let’s to His will turn back.

It takes an effort on our part.  God does not do it all.

“Lord, we repent and turn to You.  Be thou our all in all.”

 

–written January 7, 2007.  Pat Hunter.