Common Sense – doing good

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Common sense is not so common these days.  I would like to be part of changing that, and making common sense available, and attainable.

This first truth packs a real punch of freedom and serenity for me.  I can’t do it all, and I was never expected to.  When I watch the news, and I see the immense poverty, unrest, and lack of peace, I can get overwhelmed.  Something needs to be done, but what can I do?

I pray.

I can do that.

And when I see my neighbor in need, or burdened…I find a place where I can help.  I’m nobody special because of it, but I’ve been on the receiving end of being helped and blessed, it’s nice to be on this side and have an opportunity to pay it forward.

I can serve.  I can encourage.

I can do that.

When I see the mountain of laundry, and the sink full of dishes, the unmade bed, and the bathroom tub that needs a scrubbing, it can be overwhelming, and when I’m overwhelmed, it’s easy for me to give up and continue to let it accumulate.  I’ve found a secret here.  It didn’t get that way in fifteen minutes, and it won’t be cleaned up in that time either.  I pick a spot, and go to work.  I know that I will eventually get to the other, but for now, I just work in this one spot until finished, then I can move to the next thing.

I do the next thing.

I can do that.

Like eating an elephant.  One bite at a time.

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Common Sense

I found this little treasure this week while perusing my Laudate app on my iphone.

Wow!

I plan to make a series of memes for Pocket Momma, but first, here is the entirety of Mother Theodore Guerin’s no nonsense guide to common sense.  Enjoy.

We are not called upon to do all the good possible, but only that which we can do.

Occupy yourself less about yourself and more about God.

It is not enough to acknowledge our faults; we must correct them.

Profit by the experiences of the past for the future.

You will be happy in making others happy.

In the accomplishment of good we must show forth in our every act a perfect justice.

Do not require of everybody the same virtues and qualities.

Bear with the defects of others.

Endeavor not to cause others to suffer and you yourself try to endure the little annoyances which are unavoidable in the necessary relations with others.

Charity does not consist in loving one or two persons and being indifferent to all the rest.

If we love our Lord with our whole heart, if we serve him faithfully, we shall be happy even in this life.

To love in the right way is to accomplish the whole Law; it is to begin that happy life which will have its perfection only in heaven, where we shall live forever with a holy and perfect love.

by Mother Theodore Guerin (1798-1856)

Holy Discomfort, Anger, Tears, and Foolishness

May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really CAN make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

ANd the blessing of God the Supreme Majesty and our Creator, Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word who is our brother and Savior, and the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Guide, be with you and remain with you, this day and forevermore.

Amen.

Benedictine blessing

Prayer Journal: Thanksgiving Tab

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The last couple years, I have participated in “Thankful Thursdays” on facebook.  This is an area that I have come to firmly believe is necessary for joy, and an attribute that I want to develop into my quirky personality.

Thanksgiving is the key to a joyful and contented heart.  How often I lose my key.  Do you do this?  Seriously, I know this works, I’ve seen it in action…yet I forget to be thankful, and am frustrated at my lack of joy.   I want to have a joyful, contented heart; how easy it is to slip into envy and discontent if the door of our minds are locked to the joy that thankfulness brings.

Since I already have a naturally optimistic bent, you would expect that thankfulness would come easy for me.

Yeah.  Not.

While I am naturally optimistic by nature, I also am terribly idealistic, and I expect things to work out like I envision they should.

Yup.  One of those.

Much of the time, with effort on my part, I can make things happen.  But obviously, not all the time.  I am bitterly disappointed when things fall short of my ideal, and I tend to fall (as Anne of Green Gables would say) into the depths of despair.  How easy it is to slip into the devil’s trap of comparison, envy and discontent when the door of my mind is locked to joy.

There is a reason that I choose thankfulness to follow contrition and confession in my quiet time routine.  After the confession portion of my prayer time, I tend to still be a little bit raw.  Really, this should not be surprising, after all, I’ve just examined myself, and admitted my sinful thoughts, actions, intentions and omissions; that is, those things I’ve done and failed to do that have offended my Father.  I’ve brought it all to Him, offered it up, and asked him to forgive me, and now…well…like I said;  I feel a little bit raw.  So, as I remind myself of His precious promises of forgiveness and restoration, and experience the grace that He pours through my broken heart, I begin to praise Him for:

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  • Answered Prayer – Those petitions I have brought before His throne, favors granted, and His provision, including those things that He has withheld from me, or things for which He has chosen to make me wait while continuing to ask.  This part of my prayer time is a real hurdle while I’m suffering with my disappointment and impatience, but it is so necessary, for me, in developing the ability to follow Ephesians 5:20.
  • His mercy that is new every morning – that is, His sparing me from the ultimate penalty of sin, and His faithful, steadfast love through the years. (Ps 25:6, Lam 3:23).
  • Who He is – going back to adoration, and incorporating thankfulness…reminding myself again of the attributes of God, and thanking Him for all that He is to me, for me, and with me. (1 Cor 16:29, Ps. 34:7)
  • My loved ones – family, friends, spiritual leaders, etc. (Eph 1:6)
  • His grace and the indwelling of His Spirit that frees me from sin’s bondage.  Because of His grace, I am not enslaved to sin.  I have the choice to do what is right, and experience victory through Jesus Christ, my Lord.  (1 Cor 15:57)
  • The presence of His Spirit with me. I know He is with me when I experience the fruit of His Spirit in my life.  I continue to pray that my life produces the fruit, evidencing that I am His child, and He lives and reigns in me…by faith…so that everything I do can be done in His Name and for His glory. (Col 3:17)

Thanksgiving does not come naturally, it has to be cultivated!  Because I need frequent reminders of the importance of being thankful, the back of my divider is filled with Scripture reminders of the importance of developing thankfulness with an acronym of sorts of the word “gratitude”.  I have tried to keep these verses at the top of my memory, as I work on this attribute…or rather, as I allow the Lord to develop this attribute in my life.  I don’t have them all memorized, but reading through them in my quiet time has cemented their truths into my routine, and I like to think they are there for when I need them.  As I’m giving thanks, I try to write something down in this section, so that on my down days, when it’s difficult to think of something to be thankful for (I can be a big baby, did I tell you that already?), there is a list of things that I can remember and thank God again.  This is an act of obedience for me, so sometimes I need a little prompt….this totally works!

Act before you Ask
Adoration Tab
Confession/Contrition Tab

 

 

 

 

Finding the Name of the REAL Artist

This wonderful painting makes me want to be an art collector. My heart just wells up with love and appreciation for the times that I have sunk into despair, and the hand of Jesus has delivered me, pulling me up and out of my storm, and granted me the grace of learning to walk with Him on the waters of the tempest.

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This stunning painting has garnered many inquiries. I stumbled on it on Pinterest  where it was entitled ” What Jesus Did for Me” by  Yongkim Kim. Many people, churches and websites asked how to contact the artist but I couldn’t discover anything. However a diligent reader called Amanda discovered the artists true identity, Yongsung Kim.To contact the artist directly, email taimen@naver.com . Amanada says that “I did a search, and I’m emailing the artist, too!! ”

Did you notice that Jesus is standing in the water, reaching down beneath the surface. Perhaps he is extending a hand to the drowning Peter?

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The Pit

I’d seen this place before, but this time, instead of enjoying the companions of Peace, Joy, Love and Truth, my surly companions were Sorrow, Angst, and Fear.  They brought along a whole slew of their friends too, making it quite the party.  Bitterness and Revenge drew close by me, and consoled me with memories of Regret and Pity;  I am well acquainted with both, and enjoyed slow dancing to their musical choices, as they consoled my self-esteem and pride.  I was overjoyed to see that Sarcasm had joined them, and we had some really good laughs together.

Despite Sarcasm’s laughter and my intoxication with Sorrow’s tears, I only felt more miserable.  I searched in vain for Peace and her companions.   I thought about leaving the party to seek them out, and hang with them instead, but while I was looking for my coat, the stage lights went on, and Vindication called the group to attention for a toast.  I was the guest of honor, how could I skip this part?  Angst and Fear guarded the door of this party, and prevented Strength and Resolve from entering.  These obnoxious bullies interrupted often, and overpowered my conversations with their scary stories and “what if” scenarios.  For some reason, the only two I’ve ever seen successfully shut them up is Love and Truth, neither of whom I couldn’t find anywhere.  How I missed Joy, and longed for the perspective of Love and Truth.  When I inquired after them, I learned that they had long been cast out by this group, and unwelcome.  They didn’t “fit” here, since they couldn’t find anything negative to say, and further irritated everyone else by always looking for the good in the situation.

Hatred and Loathing embraced me, and before I knew it, I found myself alone with them in a deep pit of depression.  Reason called from above, but I could barely hear her above the numbing sound of Sorrow’s sweet whispers.  I snuggled up between envy and discontent and cried myself to sleep.

I woke up to Wisdom’s quiet whisper.  “Are you happy here?”

For a moment, I thought it was Sarcasm…it was almost in her tone…but…gentler, somehow.

I rubbed my eyes and tried to make them focus, but it was too dark.

“I can’t see…who are you?”

“I am Wisdom.  I am here with Reason and Truth.  We have been trying to reach you, but you were hiding behind Fear and Angst, and couldn’t see us.”

“I looked for you…and for Love and Joy and the others…they told me you were not welcome and they sent you away.”

“It’s true, we were not welcome, but we didn’t leave.  We tried to get close to you so that you could hear us, but you were surrounded with the voices of our enemies.”

As we talked, the darkness began to soften into a warm glow of the rising sun.  I reacquainted myself with the company of Reason and Truth, and Love began to fill in the gaps with her presence.  They allowed Sorrow to remain, but restricted her presence to the accompaniment of Accountability.

 

 

Is your all on the altar?

Before my youngest was born, I had heard about post-partum depression, but had never experienced it.  I wasn’t diagnosed with it, but I am almost certain I would have been, had I reported my symptoms.

The enemy used this tiny baby to tempt me to fear, and fret, and despair.  I would wake up in the middle of a deep sleep, with my heart pounding, and run to her crib to check on her just to make sure she was still breathing.  I remember checking on her on one particular occasion, and seeing her so still…and my mind screamed at me “she’s dead!”, and my heart pounded as I put my hand on her back to try to feel a heart beat, and when I didn’t…and my fear escalated, I lifted her little body from the crib, with images of doctors, ambulances, and the like running through my tortured mind, I managed to wake her up and make her cry.  As I rocked her back to sleep, I prayed for God’s protection on her life, and that He would give me wisdom as she grew, that I would teach her to love Jesus, and that she would  live her life to please Him.  Most of my prayers for her were as a result of fear, and I reacted the only way I knew to react, and that is to run to Jesus and give it to Him.

I still run to Him for her.

I am recently reminded of the warfare I engaged in for her in her growing up days, and the lessons that God used through her to grow me up, as a child of God.  It was during this time that I heard a very moving series of messages by Calvary Chapel preachers about Abraham and Isaac.  As I read the passage in Genesis, I could hear that still, small voice of God in my spirit,

“Do you trust me?”   Of course, I trust you, Lord.

“Give her to me.”  What?  I already gave her to you, we dedicated her a few weeks back…she’s yours.

“Then why are you fretting over her?  Who’s is she?”  Wait…are you going to take her from me?  I can’t bear the thought of losing a child, please Lord…”

“Is she yours, or is she Mine?  Do you trust me?  Will you give her back to me?”

I struggled for a long time with giving her to the Lord, but I finally did.  Every time she rebelled and broke my heart, I struggled more, and did it again.  Every time I was tempted to fear for her, or it looked like I was losing her, I could hear God’s voice “Who’s is she?”

She turns 18 this week, and I’m faced with the same questions I was posed when she was a tiny girl.  I was reminiscing tonight and listening to some of the old time hymns that I was raised on, and happened on one by Elisha Hoffman, which is the title of this post.  “Is Your All on the Altar?”  The lyrics are very convicting, and I’m convinced that I will not have peace until I have let go of my expectations, desires, and intentions for her, quit jumping in to try to save her or fix her, and allow God do the work He intends to do in her life.  Anyway, the lyrics to the hymn:

  1. You have longed for sweet peace,
    And for faith to increase,
    And have earnestly, fervently prayed;
    But you cannot have rest,
    Or be perfectly blest,
    Until all on the altar is laid.

    • Refrain:
      Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
      Your heart does the Spirit control?
      You can only be blest,
      And have peace and sweet rest,
      As you yield Him your body and soul.
  2. Would you walk with the Lord,
    In the light of His word,
    And have peace and contentment alway?
    You must do His sweet will,
    To be free from all ill,
    On the altar your all you must lay.
  3. Oh, we never can know
    What the Lord will bestow
    Of the blessings for which we have prayed,
    Till our body and soul
    He doth fully control,
    And our all on the altar is laid.
  4. Who can tell all the love
    He will send from above,
    And how happy our hearts will be made;
    Of the fellowship sweet
    We shall share at His feet,
    When our all on the altar is laid.