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Oh, the stink!

While opening the pantry the other day, I bent over to look on the bottom shelf when wham! I was hit with a stink so bad it nearly brought tears to my eyes.

I knew that smell. No identification needed other than the familiar and very nasty odor. A rotten potato (or two).

Easy enough to deal with, too. I pulled out my basket of potatoes and tossed them in the sink. If you look at the top picture quickly it might appear as if all is well. But zoom in (see the second pic) and you’ll see one tiny one-inch potato looking kind of smushed. Yup, that was the one. That very small tater caused so much stink in my pantry, I had to air out the closet and wash off the rest of the potatoes just to remove it. (And, of course, I tossed out the offending one in the process!)

Being Just a Little “Off”

It’s such a clear illustration of how just getting a little “off” in our Christian walk can affect absolutely everything. Allowing in just a little of the world or allowing just a little sin taints our thoughts and actions. It may be barely noticeable at first, like the smashed potato. But as we continue to allow what shouldn’t be there to remain and fester and decompose, soon enough the stink of what we’ve allowed becomes noticeable. And then before we know it, wham! It takes over and covers up all the good to the point that all we or others are aware of is that which stinketh (my own King James emphasis).

The potato stink didn’t appear overnight. It kind of snuck up. Same with sin. It often makes a subtle entrance, weaving its way right into our lives. Sometimes we are unaware and because so, we do nothing about it.

Sometimes we are quite aware that we should be standing clear, yet because we don’t feel God’s judgment at the moment or the Holy Spirit’s conviction, we can end up thinking it’s no big deal so we do nothing. Until the stench becomes so bad that it forces an action on our part.

I believe at other times we begin to be aware of the smell but aren’t ready or willing to turn away. We try to cover it up, make it look pretty, pretend it’s not as bad as it seems. With sin, we may end up ignoring the Holy Spirit trying to get us to turn away from the sin and instead of running from it, we end up embracing it, incorporating it into our lives. At times, even defending it and making excuses for its presence or why we accept it.

The deep sorrow here is that our hearts can then become hardened. We may stubbornly refuse to deal with the sin. We may become so dependent on it we start believing the enemy’s lies that it needs to remain. Or we believe the lies that say there’s no way to overcome, forgetting that while we may be unable, there is One who is more than able.

None of us intentionally wants to keep the stink. We know it keeps us separated from our heavenly Father. We know it’s wrong. And we know it’s detrimental for our Christian walk.

So dear friends, while we know there’s always hope and help in overcoming sin, perhaps the best response is to never allow sin to take root in our lives. Ask daily for the Holy Spirit to help us be aware and watchful. Repent sincerely when sin is pointed out. Humbly present ourselves before our Lord, asking Him to reveal any wicked way so it can be quickly addressed.

What to do?

  1. Recognize or acknowledge the sin. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
  2. Repent of the sin. This means to turn away from it, leave it behind, have nothing to do with it.  “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
  3. Receive God’s forgiveness. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12).
  4. Remember that in this world, trouble is here to stay. But we are in relationship with the One who has overcome and his power is available for us as well. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
  5. Rejoice in God that He has provided a way past the sin. “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Mimi

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Life sure is messy.

Do you ever think to yourself, “Boy, my life is a mess?”

I sure do. And just like the above picture of my messy computer wires, right now, I’m really feeling it. While my own life is relatively smooth (for the moment), I have countless friends whose lives seem to be falling apart: sickness, legal trouble, family issues, broken relationships. You name it, and I seem to know someone who is experiencing it big time.

As a friend, as I’ve stated before, I always vote for the trouble to disappear. But as a true friend, I pray for others and try to help in any way I can. However most times, there’s no fancy dessert, offer to clean a house, or even a monetary gift that will bring about the desired change or answer to prayer.

So, while I consistently pray for my family and friends, I also actively have to trust that God is in complete control and knows what He’s doing. He loves them more than I do and is always after our hearts and the big picture. So thankfully He is completely trustworthy, even when things seem dark.

Whether your life is a mess right now or you know someone else who is experiencing tragedy, don’t give up the fight. Find ways to serve them but your prayers are mighty and so very important. Often the one in the middle of the fight is so overwhelmed they can’t pray as they should; but that’s where you come in. You can.

So, stand firm on their behalf, and pray, pray, pray.

Trust in the Lord forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. (Isaish 26:4)

Mimi

Take comfort: the Lord is your Shepherd

I discovered the above pic around Christmas time and it was very poignant. I think we often miss our loved ones a little bit more during holidays.

I lost my mom in 2016 and my dear friend lost her parents one year apart, one in 2016 and one in 2017. Both near Christmas. And while the first Christmas or two are no doubt filled with sorrow, my hope is that future Christmases for her are sweet with wonderful memories.

I hope the same for me as well.

And while I certainly can’t speak for Heaven and cannot attest to what our loved ones there are doing at any time or capable of doing, it really is a nice thought to look at the sky, see the stars and think maybe at that time they are whispering reassurances that they are fine.

And if they indeed are in Heaven, then we have great assurance that they are not only fine, but more than fine. They’re in the presence of the One whose beauty is beyond description…whose love for us is beyond understanding…and whose very essence is (in the words of the song) absolutely more than wonderful.

My heart goes out to those who have recently lost someone they love. Most times the pain of the loss begins to fade, at least with time it can. But for those whose pain is fresh and raw, may you find comfort in our wonderful Lord, experience His sweet peace, and rest in His arms of love.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.  You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23 NLT)

Mimi

I’ve been adopted; and it feels so good!

Hubby and I have recently been “adopted” into a nearby neighborhood group of people who live on the same street. Most moved in around the same time and didn’t know anyone else so one person started things off by inviting everyone on the street to come to her house for a Saturday morning get-together. Simple and easy.

From there, the group has morphed into a monthly get-together with a published schedule for the year so everyone knows in advance whose house and what type of event. If there’s a holiday, the event will most likely center on that such as Valentine’s Day for February, and an Independence Day celebration in July. And each family takes turns hosting so no one family feels overburdened.

Despite only knowing a few of the ladies and Greg knowing even fewer people, this group welcomed us with open arms. They saw us as invited guests rather than moochers who were there for the great food.

Ever since this group started, I’ve thought how easy it is to do this. A general invitation via phone or handout distributed to the folks on your street along with a simple first meet-up such as coffee and donuts or dessert. And voila! A new social group is formed.

And you know something? I’m now greatly encouraged to do for the neighbors on our own street. Soon they will each be receiving their invitations to much more than food and a good time. They will be receiving invitations that will hopefully lead to personal connection with others.

As adoptees, Greg and I are now quite welcomed at any of their events. We get to bring food and eat the food others bring. We get to enjoy the social interaction. Though we live in a completely different neighborhood, we are treated as if we live on their street.

Our adoption into the family of God is similar. He extends an invitation for us to join His family and once we do, we are in. Completely. We have the full set of privileges others enjoy and that are outlined in His word. We have full access to the host (God Himself). And we get to enjoy wonderful fellowship with the other guests (the family of God).

The cost to join the neighborhood group is living on the street. Similarly, there is a cost to joining God’s family. We must repent of our sins and we must accept the redemptive work God’s son Jesus did on the cross to forgive those sins.

Once we do, we become adopted into God’s forever family and enjoy the ultimate: fellowship with Him.

If you haven’t yet made that decision, won’t you consider making it today? And if you want to chat with me about it, you can email me through my contact page HERE.

If you have already been adopted into the body of Christ, please join me today in taking an extra minute to thank Him for that amazing opportunity given to us. And rejoice in being able to know Him personally.

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.

This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Ephesians 1:5 NLT)

 

Mimi

Just in case…being prepared with what you really need.

Get a load of that little packing pouch. Filled with all sorts of vitamins, lotions, medicines, scissors, tweezers, band aids, Neosporin, etc. Until a few years ago, my little cosmetic bag was mostly empty when I traveled. Now it seems to overflow with items I don’t necessarily use on a regular basis…but things I might decide I need while away.

It’s crazy that I pack so much in this little bag because when packing my clothing and shoes I try to get by with just the bare minimum with maybe just one extra shirt or pair of sox. I really do like to travel light but as I age my “just in case” bag becomes more and more important. After all, I don’t want to have a migraine ruin the trip, or find my aches and pains slowing me down.

So, while my suitcase has enough for what I really need my little cosmetic bag is over-packed with items that MIGHT be needed. That seems a little crazy. And it makes me wonder if I’m doing the same spiritually.

Our spiritual lives can sometimes become so routine that we ended up doing the bare minimum to just get by. When we are confronted with a challenging situation, we may not really have what’s needed to get us through. To be victorious.

If all we do is punch our ticket each week at church or read a quick devotional followed by an even quicker prayer, then I dare say we’re not ready; we’re not prepared. And our spiritual suitcases are nearly empty. And with nothing to draw from, we are defeated, discouraged, and downcast.

Yet, how much better if we had our “just in case” bags overflowing with God’s Word, with God’s promises. What if we were prayed up and in constant communication with our Commander so we were prepared to fight battles and receive direction? What if His Word was so dear to us we were in it daily and “at the ready” so we could more easily recall the wisdom needed for the moment?

What if we had prepared ourselves by learning to know God’s voice through spending time with Him so that when a challenge presented itself, we were able to clearly hear Him speaking to us to reassure us, to motivate us, to direct us?

Having the right bag, the “just in case” bag, packed and ready would make all the difference in our lives.

I’m no better than anyone else at spiritual preparation but when I think about it and how vital it is to us, I am encouraged to set it as a goal this year and to strive toward reaching that goal.

Won’t you join me in 2018 in re-filling your own spiritual “just in case” bag?

Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. (Romans 12:2)

Mimi

The majesty and glory of God.

Isn’t that a gorgeous sky? I took this pic with my cell phone a few weeks back, never really thinking the phone would be able to capture the wonder and majesty I was experiencing looking at it. But it sure did.

Why start off the year with such a picture? Because it serves to remind me that God is at work, always. Both when I’m aware of Him and even when I’m not particularly aware of Him.

The picture helps me realize our world is so much bigger than what I experience of it. And it reminds me that God is big, much bigger than I can comprehend.

It also reminds me that God’s “bigness” is there for me, to help me, to guide me, to grow me, to love me.

But the picture also reminds me that God is to be worshipped in majesty and holiness. Yes, He’s my counselor, yes, He’s my friend, yes, He’s my savior. But He is God. And He is God alone. And that means He is to be adored and revered. And obeyed.

He is not to be taken for granted or treated lightly. He deserves to be honored at all times…when life is good and when life is not so good. When I feel like honoring Him and when I don’t feel it. In fact, honoring Him has nothing to do with my feelings or how good I perceive my life is at any given moment.

Out of obedience and respect, I’m to honor God at all times and in all circumstances.

As I look back on 2017 I am so very grateful to God for provision, for breath each day, for healing and health, for family, and for relationship with Him.

But as I look ahead to 2018 I hope to add to this feeling of gratefulness a better understanding of who He is. I hope to grow closer to Him so I can know Him more. And I hope to become more like Him so when others look at me they don’t really see me, but instead see Him.

Who is like you among the gods, O Lord—glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, performing great wonders? (Exodus 15:11).

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. (1 Chronicles 29:11 NLT)

Happy New Year everyone!

Mimi

My Christmas gift to you…a bit of laughter

I suppose I should write a heartwarming story about the birth of our wonderful Savior, express thanksgiving for His coming into the world and into my life, or share a family story with you. But no. I’m going a different route.

This year I’m giving you the gift of laughter by sharing with you some recent events.

A little background before I tell you what happened. It concerns technology, something I’m fairly good at. Oh, I have my limits, but I love using an I-pad and touch technology; I can touch and swipe with the best of them.

Fast forward to last week. It was a baking day and while a delicious sour cream coffee cake (a family favorite) was in the oven, I put my feet up and began reading a print catalog. Fairly soon I saw an item that interested me, and deciding I wanted to know a bit more and to see the photo a bit larger, I simply touched the picture so it would load additional info with a larger picture.

Nothing happened. So, I touched it a few more times until I realized DUH! It’s not going to load anything else. It can’t load. It’s not digital…it’s print!

I kid you not. I’m so used to reading on my I-pad that without thinking about it I treated a printed advertisement as if it was digital and then couldn’t understand why my finger taps weren’t doing anything. Let the laughter begin!

But the story isn’t quite finished. I had no sooner stopped shaking my head at myself over trying to touch printed material to “load” it, when I walked back to the kitchen and noticed something. A softened stick of butter was sitting on the counter. (In hindsight, I believe it was actually mocking me.)

Why was it mocking me? Well, this wonderful family coffee cake recipe is delicious because of the butter…TWO STICKS OF BUTTER. And I had only used one. After it finished baking, I sampled it and while it tasted good, the texture was off and it was definitely missing the decadent buttery yumminess. Needless to say, I ended up baking another one.

Both incidents really made me laugh. And during a time when we can get stressed and overwhelmed, I realized maybe you could use a giggle, too. But most importantly, I believe they happened because I have a dear, dear friend who needed to laugh. So, with great joy, I called her and told her my story. And laugh she did. And it was music to my ears.

My gift to you this year was the laughter that came with some funny stories. I know you have gifts to give as well…gifts you can share with others. Some of you can bake a great cake (that actually includes all the butter!). So, bake and share that cake with some neighbors.

Some are great with words, so share those words with others. Write a note or pick up the cell phone and make a call.

Others do crafting or crocheting or knitting. I bet the hospital NICU could use some knitted baby caps for preemies or the grumpy neighbor could use a homemade anything to bring cheer.

Still others can run an errand for someone, buy a gift card, say a prayer.

Gift giving began with our Lord. He gave us Jesus…the very best gift of all. He set a beautiful example that we can all use to help us carry on the tradition in 2018.

Merry Christmas to all.

Mimi