Saturday, November 19, 2016

Whatever

It's hard right now, isn't it?  The election didn't calm the storm; in fact, it seems like the waves are getting higher and visibility is diminishing even further.

At least that's what it seems like.

That cloudy glass is, well, cloudy.  We can't see clearly our hand in front of us so a lot of filtering and sifting and sorting out of truth from fiction or rumors has to be done.

It's not an easy task.  Some may say it is quite impossible.  The more informed I try to be, it seems the less truth there is out there and more opinion and heresy.

So I'm taking a pause from looking for truth in the stormy places for awhile and I'm spending my time following the advice of Paul, who lived through a tumultuous time, and I'm fixing my thoughts on what he suggests.


Whatever is true.....think about.

Whatever is noble....think about.

Whatever is right....think about.

Whatever is pure...think about.

Whatever is lovely....think about.

Whatever is admirable....think about.

Whatever is excellent...think about.

Whatever is praiseworthy...think about.


There are truths we can think about.  There are noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy things we can spend our time thinking about.  We don't have to look too far to find them.  If you are a student of the Bible, you can then follow his second instruction:

Practice.

Whatever I learned from Paul...practice.

Whatever I received or heard from Paul...practice.

If you know anything about Paul's story, any of his hardships, his testimony, his B.C. days, his A. C. days, you can practice how he handled adversity, untruths, difficulty in relationships, argumentative audiences, disgruntled friends and family.....

Practice what the Bible records him doing.

I think he spent a lot of time thinking.  Prison will give you that.  Time to think, time to write. Thinking about true things, noble things, right things, pure things, lovely things, admirable things, excellent things, praiseworthy things....

perhaps to keep him from not dwelling on

lies
undignified actions
wrongs
impurity
ugly
shameful
mediocre
disapproving

THINGS.




We can feed our souls one of two ways.

1.  With truth or
2.  With fear

When we feed our souls with truth by thinking on true and honorable and right and pure and lovely and admirable and excellent and praiseworthy things.....

we don't have time to think or mourn or lament or grieve the opposite.

Whatever is.......

True - aletha - unconcealed, what can't be hidden, undeniable reality when something is fully tested - it will ultimately be shown to be fact

honorable - semna - honorable, grave, serious, dignified

right - dikaios - correct, righteous, impartial, just in the eyes of God

pure - hagna - free from ceremonial defilement, holy, sacred, in a condition prepared for worship

lovely - prosphiles - pleasing, agreeable, acceptable, dearly prized, worth the effort to have

admirable - euphema - well reported of

excellence - arete - moral goodness, virtue, uprightness, perfection

praiseworthy - epainos - praise, commendation, approval, commendation that fits - is appropriate because it relates to God's will

Think on these things.

Whatever......

You have learned - manthano - to learn, come to realize

have received - paralambano - to receive from, take with me

have seen - horao - to see, perceive, attend to, experience, look upon, discern; to see with the mind, perceive with inward spiritual perception

these things we would do well to 

practice - prasso - to do, practice, a routine or habit

think on - logizomai - to reckon, to consider, take into account


We really only have two choices in our life.  To live in truth or to live in fear.  If we fear, we don't have the complete truth yet.


Whatever........


Peace,

Ronda

Philippians 4:8-9






Saturday, November 5, 2016

Down to the wire

I've prayed.  I've worried.  I've fretted.  I've feared.  I've prayed.  I've let go.  I've worried.  I've fretted.  I've feared.  I've prayed.  I've let go.

Repeatedly, the last several months.

It hasn't changed a darn thing.  Well, the praying has, but nothing else has really made things better, except the fact that I realize I'm in good company with the rest of the worriers, fritters and fearfuls.

We all have our beliefs and our sureness down pat.  There's not much that could really change any of our minds, no matter which side we've landed on right now.

I've seen the repeated memes comparing the two candidates.  I've read the reasons why one's sins are worse or not as bad as the other's sins.  Ad nauseum.

Those thoughts haven't changed my thoughts.  I doubt anyone's have been changed.

Setting aside the criteria of character for one running for President of the United States, what else matters in this election?  That question has been answered by a host of experts too.  Supreme Court appointments, health care, defense, national security, blah....blah....blah.

What else matters?

If we Followers of Jesus really want to walk our talk and talk our walk, what matters is how God views each of the candidates.

He said something awhile back, something about not looking at the outward appearance of things, but instead he looked at the heart.

We can't look inside the heart, we can see the actions but even then we only see snippets of the actions they want us to see.  Whether in a good light or a bad light, nothing is as it appears on TV or in a meme or anywhere else.

Only God knows the full story.  Only God knows the circumstances.  Only God knows the heart's motive.

But.......(you knew that was coming),

We still have two flawed people, vulnerable and exposed to the world.

Both of them look like all of us.  Whether in small ways or larger ways, all of us can relate and are guilty of at least one of the sins these two people have listed next to their names on a 24 hour news cycle.

When I think of them in this light, my heart hurts for them.

I wonder if they know and believe that Jesus still loves them.

I wonder if they know and believe that Jesus died to free them from the sin that we so mercilessly point out to them.

I wonder if they hate the reminders continually being brought up again and again and again.

I wonder if they want to scream at all of us, "Leave me alone, this is between my God and me!"

I wonder if they struggle with the voices (not just ours, but the hidden voices) that taunt them and say "Look at what you've done!  How could you?  You're not that bad.  It could be worse.  You only did what you had to."

Maybe I'm the only one who has to wrangle those kinds of thoughts.

I wonder if they are tired and weary and heavy laden.

I wonder if they wish they could push the restart button of their lives and do things differently.

I wonder if they do, what would they do differently.

We're stuck with flawed human beings, no matter which one we get, each of them is greatly flawed and both are a great reflection of the people they will be leading.

If God's grace isn't for them, it isn't for us either.

That's a hard pill to swallow.

Ugh.

No matter who wins, the call of the Followers of Jesus is clear.  Prayer for our President is needed like never before.  We want to be free from the sins that bind us so must I want them to be free of the sins that bind them, no matter who is President.

Our job is clear, come November 9th.

It won't be a time of lamenting and stewing, but a new time of ceaseless praying, if not for them, us.

I want the best for my country and my children and grandchildren.

It looks like God is in the business of using very flawed people to remind me how flawed I am without the grace and love of Jesus Christ.  I pray that whoever wins, comes to know and live out that truth too.


Peace,

Ronda


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Look out Home Depot!

A long time ago a German monk took it upon himself to denounce the shenanigans of the Catholic church.  In his time the church was corrupt (gasp!) and those who held the power were found to be untrustworthy with the offering basket (gasp!).

So this monk found the courage to face the truth and as such, face the enemies of the truth.

And.....

Voila', we have the Bible written in many languages, read by believers all over the world.  All because one person used the tool he had, the only tool necessary, truth, to seek true justice.

We've been digging like that German monk ever since.

Many like to let others dig and receive the benefit of the diggers' labor, not having the opportunity or the compulsion to dig themselves.

Until.....

They do.

Until they come face to face with something that their old tools don't help or fix the situation they are in.

Maybe it's a wayward child, or infidelity, or any number of sufferings that face the human race.

They dig in their ratty old tool belt and come up with only a screw driver or a hammer, when they need a tape measure and a level and wrench and a drill and a saw.  The screw driver and the hammer used to be enough but it isn't anymore, and the suffering they are suffering doesn't get fixed or removed by those two small tools.

We are at a time in history where our tool belts need to be restocked.  We don't have the right tools for the job.

Yeah, we can borrow our neighbors tools, but pretty soon, he'll be knocking on our doors asking for his tool back because he needs to use it for his project or crisis.

You  need to buy your own set of tools.

You need to get a new tool belt, one that is sturdy and can carry many tools.  Maybe one of the cool ones now with wheels and a handle to pull it from site to site.

If you're dealing with the same problems in the same way and getting the same results - frustration, disgust, anger, defeat - it may be time to up your game and get more tools.

The good news is you won't have to run up a bill at Home Depot or Lowe's to get a good supply.

The tools you need are free.

Those foundational tools will still be necessary, but to really make your project shine, you need some more help.  Some better tools.

Only you know what you need.

Do you need courage?  Strength?  Passion?  Purpose?

What is your need?  What isn't working?

Do you need joy again?  Hope?  Mercy?

Then get them!  Now!  You know where to look for them.  You know the aisle they're in.  Don't ask someone to show you, go look yourself.  Take a stroll around the hardware store, you may find tools you didn't think you needed but boy, they sure could come in handy.

Don't wait for someone to drive you to the store to shop.  Don't wait for someone to show you how to find what you need.  This is something only you can do.  You and

Jesus.

He'll give you the new tools that you need.  They've been there all along, bright and shiny on a shelf.  You only need to reach up and take it.

Go shopping!  I give you permission to run up your credit card bill and have a blast!  Get what you need and then some.  Fill your cart, rip open the packaging and start using it, whether you know exactly what it's for or not, start playing with the tools and build your life.

The good life.  The life we live in between.  The only life you get on earth.

What are you waiting for?

A sale?


Peace,

Ronda

Matthew 13:52


No Vexations Allowed

If the last year and a half has shown us anything, it has shown us how worried the citizens of the United States are.

The statements of one political party set their opponents on edge and vice versa.  Just reading through the comments on any political post and you can see the distress that is going on in the hearts of Americans.

We are all so afraid.  So worried.  So scared.  So horrified.  So offended.  So repulsed.  So, well, you get the idea.

There's a lot of worry going around - believer and unbeliever, Democrat and Republican, male and female, sinner and saint.

We're all a little STRESSED out at the moment, wouldn't you agree?

But what we're experiencing right now really isn't anything new, because in the words of King Solomon, "There's nothing new under the sun."

As much as this culture right now is fretting, the saints in heaven are probably saying to each other, "Been there, done that," about us down here in the present battle.  We're not special nor is our time period any more special then the ones before us whether 100 years ago, 1000 years ago or 5000 years ago.  In all the history of the world, there really is nothing new under the sun.

The behavior and inclinations of men and women have not changed since the first couple hid from their Creator.

The only thing that is significantly different is that we, inhabitants of the year of our Lord, 2016, have a few more history books to look back on to see that there truly is nothing new under the sun.

Politics have been corrupted for centuries.  Males have objectified women.  Women have sought to be as powerful as men.

But for those of us watching, even though our minds tell us there is nothing new under the sun, we still battle with our own fears and anxieties of what will happen on November 9th.  What does our future hold if those who predict catastrophe if the opponent wins really does happen?

What can we do to get through?

Hide?  Ignore?  Run to Canada?

I think the answer is quite simple and doesn't involve packing.

Banish anxiety from your heart.

To banish something in the Hebrew light means to turn off (literally or figuratively), to turn aside, remove, stop, take away.

Anxiety is something we all suffer, some more than others, some chronic, some on an acute basis.  Probably a lot of us have an acute case of anxiety now, but those who have chronic anxiety can feel your pain.

Anxiety is another word for vexation - the state of being worried or annoyed; something that worries or annoys you.

Basically it means that you are being harassed or irritated.

It's not easy to stop vexing things from overcoming our minds let alone our hearts, but it is exactly what Solomon advised in his ancient writing called Ecclesiastes.  He advised to banish Ka'as - our sorrow, vexations, anger, provocation, wrath and grief - from our hearts.

Peter said to cast all our anxiety on Him because He cares for us.

To throw all our worries and cares and concerns and anxiety on Him.

No matter what November 9th looks like, the cause for anxiety, worry and concern will still be there.

So what are you going to do about your own supply?

Are you going to coddle it and comfort it and please it and carry it with you as you go about your life that will be the same routine on November 9th as it was on November 8th?  Will it help you or anyone else to keep doing the same thing again and again, hoping for a different outcome?

Believers, brothers and sisters, who will you be on November 9th?

If you're overwhelmed by worries, anxieties and concerns now, what will you do to change that for the future?  Your baggage is not mandatory for the future.  In fact, it's totally unnecessary to carry baggage that someone has already took from your hands and nailed it on a cross.

We have the invitation to throw all our worries - our questions, our shock, our judgments, our fears, our concerns, our vexations - throw them all on the Lord Jesus Christ because

He CARES for us.

Banish these from your heart and throw them on Jesus.

When they come around, you lock the door, put the CLOSED sign on the window, and tell those anxieties where they can go.

It's in your hands.

If you like carrying the burdens around and you find comfort in that, well .....  carry on.

(But aren't you tired of lugging around those heavy bags?)

Jesus doesn't want you to carry garbage you were never supposed to carry.

It's time for us to look like we trust Him.  Really trust Him.

If we don't fake it till we make it, then what hope is there for people who don't know where they can really put their fears?

It starts with the Family of God.  It's time to walk the talk.

Today.  Not November 9th or January 20th or any other future date.

Today is the day.

Little faith, little God.  Big faith, big God.

If you're carrying around your anxiety, worry and concern unnecessarily, you are going to have a hard time seeing a Big God do Big Things.

It's time, friend.

Banish anxiety from your heart.  Put up the no trespassing sign, stand watch, and arrest anything that tries to make its way back into your faith filled heart.

You were never meant to know evil.  Pretend you don't

                                     and just cast all your


                                                       vexations


                                                                        on Him.

As many times as it takes - cast it all on him.  When they come back as quickly as you've banished them, show them the door.  They'll give up eventually.  Fight for your heart!  Fight for your peace of mind.  You were never meant to know fear.  Practice living with childlike faith.  If you practice it will get easier because practice makes perfect!




Peace,

Ronda

Ecclesiastes 11:10
1 Peter 5:7
Genesis 2:17