Letting Go of the Old

Did you ever need a reset?

I do.  I’m in a slump as of late, and need to reset, regroup, and refocus.

I have come to a place in my life, where I’m seeing things more clearly, experiencing God’s presence and hearing Him speak to my heart in ways I have only dreamed of; and at the same time, I feel an anxiety in my spirit…a simmering frustration that occasionally bubbles up and spills out of my mouth in biting words I don’t really mean to say, and hot tears that defy my own ideas of stoic self-discipline.

I know that a large part of my problem is  my own “all or nothing” attitude.  I find something that I love to do, and all sense of balance goes out the window…I throw myself 100% into the new thing that I love, and forget to maintain the essential disciplines that keep my little world turning here.  Facebook, which was intended to be a TOOL to keep me in contact with my children, has turned into a vice for me.  I lose all track of time, and find it difficult to walk away…as a result, my relationships and responsibilities have suffered.  I think this is at least partiality the culprit in my bubbling anger…I’m irritated at myself, and feeling lazy and unmotivated to change, so I surf around on Facebook…escaping what I know I need to do, for the sake of one more article, one more comment, one more share…until I’ve wasted another afternoon instead of doing what I know I need to do.

Anyway, until I can find some semblance of self control again, I’m disabling my Facebook, and re-vamping my schedule to reflect a more balanced list of priorities.  I hope to be reading more and journaling again, which hopefully will lead to some new blog posts here.  My posts here will no longer show on Facebook, as my personal page there will be no more.  Please bookmark NewThings if you wish to follow.  I don’t know how long I’ll be MIA on FB, but would appreciate your prayers in the meantime.

Blessings.

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This Week’s Musing

I want my spiritual nourishment to be just as important as my physical.  What if, every time I was bored, instead of snacking on food, I was grazing in the Word of God?  How would it be to hunger and thirst for spiritual communion as I do for breakfast…or my first cup of coffee?  What would my prayer life look like if it was as routinely anticipated and prepared as my caffeine intake?  Do I ever skip morning coffee?  Not without serious consequences.  Why don’t I see the spiritual consequences of skipping my prayer, devotion and Bible reading with the same attitude?

The Altar

The Kitchen has been called the heart of the home.  Family life is nurtured in the kitchen; conversations, tears and laughter coexist and comingle; food is prepared and consumed.  Generally, because of use and abuse, the kitchen is the messiest room in the house. If the kitchen represents the heart, the sink would be its altar.

The sink is where used vessels are gathered, scraped, washed clean, sorted and prepared for future use.  You can’t serve up a fresh hot meal on dirty dishes, now, can you?

In the same way, to be used effectively by God, we need to be cleansed regularly. Everyday use leaves the remains of what we had to offer on the surface of our heart.  Regret and unforgiveness will harden into bitterness if we are not careful to remove it promptly.   In the quiet of your kitchen, bring the dirty dishes of your life to the altar.  While you are scraping and scrubbing the congealed mess from the dishes, rinsing them clean, and putting things straight in your little kitchen, Let the Lord do the same thing on the altar of your heart.  With contrition, make a plan to right the wrongs that you have committed, and ask the Lord for the strength and resolve to follow through.  As you are putting away the clean dishes, and wiping up your workspace, thank the Lord for His goodness to you.  Ask Him to prepare you and enable you for the work that He has for you.

Regret, Guilt, and Shame are the ugly stepsisters of Contrition, the daughter of Truth and Pardon.  These stepsisters are hateful, ruthless, unforgiving, and usually gross exaggerators.  Don’t let them “help” in your kitchen.

Life is a Latte like a good cuppa coffee

Hello.  My name is Lyn and I am a coffee addict.

My observations, in the spirit of Forest Gump…how life is like coffee:

1.  I have a favorite cup I pour my coffee into.  I have favorite people I pour my life into.

2.  I can’t have either without a sweetener.  Cream and sugar are my choice for coffee; Laughter and love, for my life.

3.   I want my coffee to be either hot or cold.  Jesus wants my spiritual life to be the same.  Lukewarm coffee is almost as bad as a lukewarm life…both are apt to be spewed at some point.

4.  For a good, strong cup of coffee, beans must first be roasted, then ground, and perked in hot water over time.
The strongest people I know have endured fiery trials and crushing disappointments.  Their secret was to immerse themselves in the Word of God and spend their time wisely, steeped in prayer.

5.  Coffee and life are both best when shared unselfishly with family and friends around a kitchen table.

Training

Scene playing at my daughter’s house tonight:  Worn out child #2 in room, tired but fighting the rest she so desperately needs. It’s been a long day, full of laughter, good food, a movie, and game time with Momma and Grammie.  Now it’s past her bedtime, and even after the normal bedtime ritual of a story and song with cuddles, she is overstimulated and cranky.  Momma has taken to the sofa, silent to the little girl’s pleas for her to hear and come placate her.  Wise Momma waits patiently, ever aware of angelface’s cries, but in the work of training this child, allows her to shout out in angst, shed tears, and vent her frustrations.

I hear the wisdom of my Heavenly Father roll off her tongue, as she reassures her.  “I love you.  It’s time to rest.  Lie down and go to sleep.”  Then, she is quiet, and she waits for daughter to wear herself out with groaning.  The cries grow louder and more insistent, and she resists the urge to run to her and coddle her.  Patiently she endures the wailing, knowing this time of training, hard as it is, will make the next one a little easier.  The goal is to teach this child to discipline herself.  One day, she will be equipped with the coping skills she needs to remind herself of the things she knows.  Mom loves me, it’s been a long day, it’s time to rest…and she will fall asleep without the fight.

And as my own Father waits patiently for my cries to subside, his words echo in my mind, I love you.  Trust Me.  Rest; And I am reassured that He is not absent, or deaf to my cries.  He is just quiet while He patiently waits for me to quit fighting and obey.

To Remember is to Pray

Several years ago, I was part of an active and spiritually rewarding Bible study with a sweet group of ladies.  The leader of this Bible study was a gifted teacher, and excellent example of a godly woman.  She had some beautiful insights and many of the things I learned in that study have stuck with me, and become Ebenezers of sorts.

One such lesson was from our study in Romans chapter 1:

Romans 1:First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers…

This passage reminds me of a couple other passages, because of the use of the words all, always, without ceasing, etc.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always, 17 pray constantly, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Philippians 1:I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, thankful for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel thus about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

First of all, this passage from Philippians is a beautiful prayer to adopt and pray for your own fellow brothers and sisters.  What a rich blessing these sentiments of deep faith, hope and love hold for the one(s) being prayed over.  I will be copying this one down in my prayer journal to pray on a regular basis.

Second, and the reason for the title of my post today, is this question that was asked in our Bible Study.  How could Paul truthfully say that in all his remembrances, and always in every prayer, he was praying this for those he loved?  Was it an exaggeration?  I don’t believe it was, as you can see, he swore to it by God as His witness… but if not, how could he make such a bold statement?  The answer is simple, and is tied to Paul’s instruction to the Thessalonians:  to pray without ceasing.  We can (and we should) train our minds to turn thoughts into prayers.  So that every remembrance becomes a prayer, and to remember is to pray.

 

The Thorn

The Thorn

I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throne
And begged Him for one priceless gift that I could call my own.
I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart
I cried, ‘But Lord! this is a thorn! and it has pierced my heart.
This is a strange, a hurtful gift which Thou hast given me.’
He said, ‘My child, I give good gifts and gave My best to thee.’
I took it home, and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore,
As long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more.
I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace:
He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil that hides His face.

~Martha Snell Nicholson

2 Corinthians 12:And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated.
Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me;
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

When God Bends Down

Psalm 116 – paraphrased by me

I love the Lord, because he hears and answers my prayers.
Because he bends down to meet me where I am, I will continue to cry out to Him all my days.
Death came near to me, I thought my life was over, I was in trouble, and full of fear and distress.

Then I called out “Jesus, Lord, Jesus!  Help us!” when I thought we were going to die.

And God, who is full of mercy, protected us.  When I thought this life was over, He saved us.
Now my soul is at peace, because God has blessed us with life.

Lord, I know you have rescued me from death.  You dried my tears, and you kept my feet from tripping.
Because of your mercy and grace, I am still following You in the land of the living.
My faith was preserved, even in the middle of my distress and anxiety, when I forgot how to trust.
How could I repay your goodness and mercy to me?
By remembering the gift of your salvation when I called on Your Name.
I will follow through on the intentions of my heart, and the promises I have made to you in the presence of your people.

To die as a faithful servant of God is seen as a precious gift.
Lord, I am your servant, the daughter of your servant.
Thank you for unfastening my shackles.
I will bring the sacrifice of praise as I call on Your Name.
I will follow through on the intentions of my heart, and the promises I have made to you in the presence of your people.
In heaven’s courts, in the presence of Jerusalem, Praise the LORD!