Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Resolution

I think the best thing I can do – today – to help me really glean all I can from this season of life is to commit the end of every single day to going deeper in the Lord. I MUST make the time at the end of EVERY day … even when I’m tired, even when I’ve been out dancing or out with Darrell or with SoZo … no matter what I’ve done with my evening … I MUST keep my time with the Lord sacred. If I can be faithful in that one thing, my entire life will continue to be transformed. As I press into Jesus more, my perspective will be completely changed and molded into what He wants it to be … just like my So Long, Insecurity devotional talked about - Hebrews 12:1-2 … God perfects our way of thinking as we fix our eyes on Jesus more and more over time. … Yeah! That’s what I want! I want my mind to be renewed, perfected, and honoring to Jesus. So I MUST stay plugged into the Source, reading my Bible, talking to God, digging deeper every single day. I will continue to do this everyday.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Demon in the Gloves

We have an unusual, frustrating, comical, and yet very real problem at The Porch: there is a demon who lives in the right hand of every dishwashing glove my mom has ever bought. Yep, you heard me right ... a demon.

We do a lot of dishes at The Porch ... I mean A LOT of dishes. When you own a restaurant, you're gonna have to do dishes ... it's just part of the job - a big part. Well, you gotta have gloves for all those dishes so that your hands don't get pruney, old-looking, dry, and hard as time goes by. My mom, being the wonderfully compassionate and gifted boss that she is, always makes sure that we have dishwashing gloves in stock. And somehow, even in the midst of a demon, she never gives up buying her employees gloves. And if you only knew how many pairs of gloves we've really gone through 'cause I know they're not all in this picture. Without fail, the right-handed glove of every pair my mom has ever bought has gotten a hole in it from something ... a glass gets broken in the sink, a fork or a knife is hiding under the soap suds ... heck! Just yesterday, a piece of plastic sliced through my right-handed glove. The possibilities are endless! Sheesh. But to no end, it's always the right-handed glove that gets a hole in it! I don't think we've ever thrown away a left-handed glove before.

And tell me ... what is more annoying than going to wash the dishes by hand just to find that your hand is getting wet, smelly, and itchy inside that daggone right-handed glove (that you just bought, by the way!)?? As if doing the dishes wasn't trying enough, right? Hahahaha! That's why I'm convinced it's a demon! Only demons are THAT persistent and THAT stinkin' annoying! ...... So if you have a demon in your LEFT-handed dishwashing gloves, never fear! We have the answer for you at The Porch ... 2411 E. Main Street in Danville! Perhaps if we stand together, we can defeat the demon in the gloves!!!! Don't lose heart! The dishes must be done!


So awhile ago, I was reading through Exodus, and I stumbled across a super fun word. Like all the books of the Bible, Exodus is a pretty cool book ... but somewhere in the middle, and for several chapters afterward, it gets a bit dry. It talks about the tabernacle and how tall and wide and such it was supposed to be ... about the high priests and what color their robes should be and what fabric they should be made out of ... and on and on. Not sure why God wanted that in there, but I'm sure He has His reasons. ... Well, anyways ... I was reading through Exodus, and honestly? Was bored out of my mind ... and then I stumbled across the word "snuffer." Yes, I am not joking! SNUFFER! Isn't that an awesome word?? ... Well, I didn't have a clue what it was. I tried reading the same verse in the New Living Translation to see if another word was used, a word I actually knew. Nope. There it was again ... snuffer. Later that week, I told my mom about the word, snuffer, and she asked, "Well, don't you know what that is?" And I said no. So she walks into the next room (we were at The Porch at the time), grabs something off the shelf, and brings it in to show me. It was a SNUFFER!!! Come to find out ... snuffers are tools used to put out candles (shown in the picture above). You cover the lit candle wick with the bell-looking end of this little do-dad, and it puts out the fire. Cool, huh? Ha! Well, of course, I laughed out loud to find out what a snuffer actually is ... and I laughed even harder that my mom not only had one handy, but she sells 'em at The Porch! ... So if you're looking for a snuffer (and you know you are!!! Who wouldn't be looking for a snuffer? Seriously!), we have not one, but TWO, in stock at The Porch! Just sayin' ...

Exodus 25:38 - "Its snuffers and their trays shall be of pure gold."

I can be content through Christ who strengthens me!

Wow. God is bringing lots of ideas about Himself to my mind tonight. I guess that's what ya get when you try to read THREE separate books AND your Bible for your devotions all in one night! Whew! My brain is about to shut off from fullness! But before it shuts off ... one more thought comes to mind.

Just about everyone has heard Philippians 4:13 ... "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" But how many people think about the context? I haven't thought much about it either. But I wanted to get one encouraging thought out while I'm thinking about it. ... So often, when I've heard Philippians 4:13, people go on and on about how they can do ANYTHING with God's strength. I don't disagree with this idea, but I think it's important that we think about the context of this verse. I've seen this verse plastered on billboards ... a picture of a body builder who believes he can lift some ridiculous amount of weight because "he can do ALL things through Christ who gives him strength." And sure, God could give him the strength to do that. I doubt it. But He could. But the context. Let's think about that for a moment ...

The verses surrounding Philippians 4:13 are all about God providing for Paul's needs. And verses 11 and 12 are about Paul grasping contentment, learning to be content, stinkin' BEING content NO MATTER what his circumstances ... and his circumstances were pretty crummy. So even though God could totally help a really strong guy be even stronger and lift a really heavy weight, that's not the point here. The point is that God can give us the strength to be content (and that's a pretty huge thing 'cause contentment is often hard to come by in this crazy, unstable life). With God's strength (His Holy Spirit's POWER living and working inside of us!), we can be content whether we're excited about our season of life or not.

And I don't know about you, but when I think of God's strength enabling me to be content in every situation, I get excited! 'Cause contentment is a terror at times! ... So please, keep believing you can do ANYTHING with God's strength at work in you ... 'cause He's just that powerful. But don't forget to be realistic ... to seek God out for the right kind of strength for your circumstances.

Okay ... that's all for now. This full brain is going to bed. Good night, y'all! :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

FOTS: Peace

On to the next Fruit of the Spirit post! It's only been several weeks since my last FOTS, so let's go! ;)

I'm so excited to hash out a few ideas about peace. What a precious gift. ... If you've struggled with worry, turmoil, or fear recently, you know how precious peace is. A definition of peace (or serenity) is this ... "calmness of mind; evenness of temper; undisturbed state; coolness." Calm. Undisturbed. Don't you like the sound of that? ... Now, I'm a Spunky, Spazzy Sanguine, so "calm" is not really in my reality most of the time ... if ever. Worry? Now, that's more me. I know ... worry = bad ... peace = good. I'm working on it.

I've been struggling a lot with fear over the past several weeks. It's hard to tell you what the fear is all about. Several things feed into it, I think. I'll just say that it's been overwhelming me, even emotionally crippling me, in some ways. It's been quite the battle. A battle for my heart and future. ... But I'm finally beginning to win. Perspective really is everything. Listening to the Holy Spirit is everything. In fact, here's a great solution for you ...

Perspective + the Holy Spirit = Peace

Isn't that great? Wow! You didn't know you were gonna get the answers to REAL and FULFILLED life in Christ just by reading a blog post, huh? Haha! Well, good job, God! Thanks! .......... Huh. Wow, that's kind of fun. I knew I was excited about digging deeper about peace tonight. :) ... Anyways ... what a solution! As we listen to and apply what God is teaching us, the Holy Spirit transforms our perspective. And as we begin to see things the way God sees them, we find peace. God's perspective of life is undisturbed and untainted, and it can be unleashed in our lives if we'll just grab hold of it. And ultimately, the only way to grab hold of peace is to seek hard after Jesus. One way I have been doing that is by being sensitive to the Holy Spirit's moving in my life. I've been feeling His presence and hearing Him speak to my heart more in the past 6 months than probably in all of the rest of my life put together. I wish it were easier to describe how. I guess, really, He's speaking through God's Word, through music, and through gentle nudges. I'm trying to be specific here. :) The Holy Spirit is the part of God that makes the Word come alive in us! It is only through the Holy Spirit's work in our lives that we can experience, know, and receive what God wants for us. The Holy Spirit can make song lyrics, and even the music, itself, speak volumes into our hearts and minds, slowly changing our perspective. And the Holy Spirit moves us to action through gentle nudges ... maybe you know those moments as "God tugging on your heart."

Wow ... I'm kind of getting off the subject here. I guess I'm just trying to say that I am growing in peace these days. After quite a while of fearing, I'm beginning to embrace God's peace. The more I learn to listen to the Holy Spirit and trust what God is doing in my life, the more I experience peace. ... Let me leave you with a few great verses about God's precious peace ...

Isaiah 26:3 - "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You."
Hey, look! There's that word "trust" again. When do we receive peace? When we TRUST GOD!

John 16:33 - "I have said these things to you so that in Me you may have peace. In this world, you will have tribulation. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
That's Jesus talking ... just in case you were wondering. :D

Philippians 4:7 - "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Surpasses all understanding ... oh, yeah! :)

Perspective + the Holy Spirit = Peace
Take that, fear!