I was working this morning and somehow lost the job I was typing on. Usually it’s seen in my pool but it disappeared. First I panicked, thinking it had gone to the client without being completed. With no supervisors on to remedy the problem, I decided to take a chance, log out and log back in to see if I could get it back. Sweating bullets, I did just that and after the reset, there was my lost job. I could have just continued on and most likely the job would have come to someone else to type but I didn’t know for sure whether or not it had gone to the client and I would have been concerned the rest of the day! I would have been torn up over something I could do absolutely nothing about.
We spend so much time worrying and wondering if things are going to turn out okay and what’s going to happen if it doesn’t. Very often the things we can do nothing about are what keeps us stuck! I was on my way there and decided to take a chance and hit a reset button.
That’s a good idea today. Are you stressed, worried and/or fearful about something you have very little control over? Hit the reset button. Close your eyes and breathe. Pray. Pick up your Bible and ask God to point you to something in His Word that will help you take a minute to start all over. Hopefully before we’re all wound up in a tizz over something we can do nothing about, we’ll remember to do that.
Matthew 11:28: Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.”
Some mornings I don’t listen to my music at all but more often than not, I do. I always choose my favorite songs on my playlist to walk and worship to. The same ones, over and over again. I know which ones I need and what will help me get off to a good start. This morning I decided to hit the shuffle button and I’m so delighted I did. It was like God knew BETTER THAN I DID what I needed this morning. I heard songs I didn’t even know I had on my list and by the time we were back to the car, I was lifted up and ready to face the day.
That’s such a good lesson for us! We’re such creatures of habit and control! You may not realize it but think of what YOU have planned for this day. Better yet, think about yesterday, what you had planned and if something happened to upset your apple cart, how you reacted. Feel me? We think we have it so together and sometimes we do but let one little (or big) thing disrupt our flow we fall to pieces.
Sometimes God has to hit the shuffle button in our lives to expose issues we have, fears we hide and the real intentions of our heart. That’s when it gets real. Love can quickly turn to hate, good can turn into selfish and our faith can leave us lacking. Who are we when we’re shuffled? That’s who we need to deal with.
The thing about a shuffled list is you don’t know what song you’ll hear next. Life is very much like that. Instead of wanting to hear my favourites, I found myself excited to see what God picked for me to hear next! I surrendered to the shuffle and enjoyed every minute of it! Maybe that’s a message to us to surrender to what God has for us today and not be so naïve as to think we have it all under control. We don’t!
Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB): ‘For I know the plans that I]have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
1st Peter 4:12-13 (NASB): “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”
I just had the feeling someone might need this, today.
So yesterday the car acted up and did something really weird (those of you who know what I’ve been through…I see you laughing, or perhaps holding your breath…). Because of my history with vehicles I was absolutely terrified to drive this morning. Screaming on the inside, I forced myself to take my son to work. […]
Keep Your Distance…?
Yesterday Sampson and I went to Lowe’s to get a key made. I know, you can get a key made almost anywhere but I chose Lowe’s because they let dogs come with you and Sampson loves nothing more than ‘going shopping’. He was sooo excited!
Normally I park far away from the entrance so we can walk as much as possible but yesterday I drove up close to the entrance, I guess because we had already walked and I had a couple of other errands to run. Anyway, we pulled up beside a car with the hood up. I immediately had flashbacks to all the times in the not too distant past where I had the hood up on the car I was blessed with (another story) EVERY time I pulled into ANY parking lot! So immediately, I looked in the car and all around our area looking for the driver because more often times than not, not ONE PERSON would come and ask if I needed help. Still makes me want to cry when I think of it. ANYWAY, I couldn’t find a driver so Sampson and I went on in. He got to strut around for people to pet him (he thinks all humans are there just for him), got the key made and we were ready to leave. When I got back to my car, the hood was still up on the other car and still no driver could be found. I looked inside the car and it was full of boxes, clothes – obviously everything that person had was in the back seat. I got Sampson some water and said a short prayer for the driver and for a chance to help if it was needed. About that time, here came the driver.
If I were a person that judged what I saw on the outside, I would have quickly gotten in my car, locked the doors and gone on my way. This guy was a bit intimidating. He was filthy dirty and talking to himself obviously frustrated with the vehicle. I spoke first, smiling and told him I felt for him and had been in that predicament many times before. I asked him if I could help. He told me he had driven from Georgia and was on his way to his first job in 3 years as a sober man and had to be there by tomorrow or the opportunity wouldn’t be there. He said he had to leave “home” because he knew he couldn’t stay clean where he was so he opted to take a chance through some ministry in a surrounding town and just start completely over again. “God took a big chance on me so I’m taking a big chance on Him.” We talked about his car (transmission fluid leak, power steering fluid leak) – and that he thought he got it fixed and if he didn’t he could still drive it was just going to be aggravating because he’d have to stop often to refill the fluid levels. He smiled and said, “Hey, ma’am, I’ve made it this far, no way I’m gonna quit now, I’m almost there!”
I found out he spent the last of his money he had buying fluids and a couple of tools to fix his car so I gave him the little bit of cash I had, prayed with him and wished him well.
The points/lessons of this encounter are endless but the one that stands out for me is this: Because of my experience in a like situation I had a choice to make: treat the stranger in need like I HAD BEEN treated or treat the stranger in need like I WANTED TO be treated. I chose the latter. Had I based my actions on what I SAW, I wouldn’t have heard his “God-story” and would have missed MY blessing!
I know it’s a mean old world out there. Even walking down the sidewalk and making eye contact with someone may be taking a risk to be hurt in some form or another. I think those of us who call ourselves Christians should be prayerfully, discernfully (not sure that’s an official word but it works!) willing to be what (and who) Jesus commissioned us to be – hope, encouragement and comfort to those we meet. Did I change that man’s life? Probably not. Did I make him smile and relax a bit? You bet I did. Mission accomplished. Not only that, it felt so good!
Keep my distance? I’m so happy I didn’t. I was reminded once again that our greatest blessings come when we make an effort to bless other people!
Ladies, do you remember what it was like when you were pregnant? (Sorry gentlemen, stick with me here, you’ll be able to relate if you don’t already). Remember the feeling of knowing there was another human being growing inside of you? Despite the circumstances or what was happening in your life, that baby in your womb was your responsibility and pretty much everything you did, didn’t do; eat, didn’t eat…everything was all about that baby! The child’s very existence depended largely on how you cared for both of you during that time. Literally everything a mother to be does affects her growing baby. As it is in the physical, so it is in the spiritual!
Have you ever thought about Jesus being in YOUR care? Just like that baby God allowed you to grow inside you, if Jesus is Your Saviour and Your Lord, He’s lives inside of us through His Spirit. How healthy, active and alive He is in our lives is largely a direct result of how we “feed” Him and care for Him. What happens to a pregnant woman’s child if she doesn’t eat or sleep? The baby becomes malnourished and sickly. What happens if she fills her body with bad foods, takes drugs, smokes? The baby most of the time isn’t healthy. The same concept applies to our spiritual person. If we don’t take care of our spirit man he’s going to be puny as well.
Since it’s Christmas, baby Jesus is in our care at this moment. Everything – especially the meaning of this season, Jesus’ birth and all that entailed is wrapped up in us right this very moment. All the hope and love His birth brought the world is in our care! YOUR care. Because we carry the meaning of Christmas with us it’s up to us to convey that to the world. Are we? We’re busy getting ready for our celebrations and that’s okay, but is Jesus a part of any of our plans?
When Jesus was born He changed everything and if we’re who we say we are, His presence should change how we do this season. Does it?
What will YOU deliver this season? Whatever the gift, let’s give it in honor of Christ, our greatest gift. Let’s take care of what He’s given us to care for: The celebration of His birth and all He means to us.
This time of year is bittersweet. I reminisce sweet times gone by of family and friends. I miss them so. Tears and smiles invade and despite my efforts to not be sad, sometimes I am. Regardless of my best efforts to not get caught up in the craziness of the world around me and my emotions, I find myself a prisoner, right in the middle of it.
Are you there too?
Take a walk with me back to where the true meaning of this season is. Let’s go back to the stable. Picture with me, a young, anxious couple awaiting the birth of their first child. They’re in a strange city where they know no one. Exhausted from a walk/donkey ride they just want to find a place to stay and rest, do what they need to do, and head back home. He checks every available place only to find the city is full with people complying with the census, just as they are. She’s ready to deliver any day now and she misses her mother. He’s still dumbfounded, perhaps a little numb with the news that his wife to be is pregnant not with his baby or another man’s baby…but with God’s baby!
He thinks to himself, “after all this, now I can’t find a place to take her to rest! This could be my last straw! Can’t people see she’s very pregnant? Can no one show us a little compassion?” The last innkeeper he comes to points to a place where people house their travel animals and tells him they’re welcome to stay there: “Hey, it’s a roof over your heads, that’s better than nothing!” so reluctantly the young husband-to-be takes him up on his offer.
He marvels at Mary. Throughout this pregnancy, she’s never had a cross word and never complained. She’s shown no fear, only the anxious anticipation of any first time mother. She’s remained faithful…and even more beautiful than the day he met her. To his eyes, she seemed to have an aura about her; a special glow.
Joseph makes her a place to rest and unpacks what they need for the night. Shortly thereafter it’s obvious she’s going to give birth right there.
Wasn’t she supposed to deliver God’s Son? Isn’t He a King? And…and…and…we’re here in a stable? Have I failed God? Have I failed, Father? This can’t be the way you intended to bring Him into the world…or is it? He was reminded of scripture; where the prophets said God’s Messiah was to be delivered and peace overtook him. They were there and He is coming!
The couple see each other through the birth of the world’s promised Prince of Peace. Joseph goes through the barn looking for something to wrap their newborn Jesus in and she wraps her son in strips of linen and holds him close to her, marvelling at her child. Their child. God’s child. They look into each other’s eyes and without words, say everything their hearts are flooded with. For a long time, no words are spoken. They’re in awe of God’s promise fulfilled.
We stand at the door of that miraculous sight. An ordinary girl and boy, pledged to be married, now parents of God’s own Son, the promised Messiah. Can you see Him? He’s your promise as well. God came to the world just for you, wrapped in the flesh of an innocent and perfect baby. Oh I know. You can’t take your eyes off Him. He’s yours, just as He’s Mary’s! He’s your King; your Promise; your Messiah. Isn’t He beautiful?
He came this way, with no pomp and circumstance, to let you know His/Our Father was thinking of you – yes you! The one who feels forgotten, forsaken and insignificant. YOU. He loves YOU that much.
Merry CHRISTmas beloved child of God.
Stay as long as you want at the stable. If you have to leave then go, but don’t forget what you’ve seen.
Don’t forget how favoured you are to have witnessed – and believe – that the baby you beheld there – in the midst of a dirty stable is the Jesus that comes in to the filth of whatever we’re going through and changes absolutely everything. Come back to the stable as often as you like. Stay there this season as often as you can.