Friday, February 27, 2009

what’s the difference?

casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 NAS

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34 NAS

Concern? Yes, I’ve had concerns, I have concerns, and I will have concerns. There are things or people or events that have an effect on me, that I’m involved with, that are important to me, that get my attention, that I am somehow, in some way, connected with.

Worry? Yes, I’ve worried. And, I’ll worry again. I’ve worried due to or because of fear, troubles, injustice, disasters, distress, anger, pain, danger, crime.

Is there a difference between concern and worry? Yes, there is a difference, a big difference.

* Concern tries to solve problems, looks for solutions, and faces challenges.

* Worry causes problems and worry is the problem. Worry is a waste of time, it’s pointless, and doesn’t help anything.

There are times it’s very hard not to worry. But, God says that we are not to worry. He’s very clear on the subject. He asks us to give our worries to Him.  And, not to pick them up again.  I'm guilty.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Philippians 4:6-8 NAS

This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. A Greg Laurie study summarizes these verses into three steps for keeping worry from our lives.

1- Right praying (verse 6-7). To be free of worry, we have to pray.

2- Right thinking (verse 8). Having peace involves both the heart and mind. The peace of God will guard our thinking.

3- Right living (verse 9). The way we act depends on our attitude. We are to think about things that are praiseworthy.

If Jesus is our personal savior, there’s no need to worry. God is in control of your life. You may not know what tomorrow holds, but you know who holds tomorrow.

I close with these quotes:

“Worry is like a rocking chair - it gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere.”

“There is a great difference between worry and concern. A worried person sees a problem, and a concerned person solves a problem. “
Harold Stephens

"Only one kind of worry is proper: to worry because you worry too much."

“Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He's going to be up all night anyway.”
Mary C. Crowley

Thursday, February 26, 2009

get ready...get set...go read, listen, and pray

Give ear to my words, O LORD,
consider my sighing.
Listen to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.
Psalm 5:1-3 NIV

I admit it.

Sometimes I’m guilty of not finding ‘time’ for daily devotions and prayer with God. Not finding time? That’s about the sorriest excuse ever! Not taking time for God? How much time is in a day? Is my time better than His time? It’s God that has given me the time I have!

What on earth could have a higher priority? Absolutely, positively, definitely nothing at all!

The beginning of each new day is my best time alone with God. In the quiet, stillness of the morning, it’s an excellent time for me to study and mediate on the Word of God. Spending time alone with God is essential for me to find guidance, to be encouraged, to learn, to be comforted, to understand, to open my heart, and to grow closer to Him. In the peaceful solitude, my heart is prepared to listen. When I talk to God, I know my prayers are heard. My prayers may be simple, but He knows my heart. Prayer is a time to pour out my soul, to ask for strength, to cry, to give thanks, to laugh, and to ask for help.

There is plenty of time for me to spend alone with God. No excuses. Just do it.

It takes discipline. It takes commitment. It takes devotion. It takes obedience. It takes dedication.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35 NIV

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16 NIV

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.
Dwight L. Moody

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

quote of the day

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying to ourselves that we are born to eternal life.

Saint Augustine

Thursday, February 19, 2009

to fear Him is to know Him

Do I fear God? Absolutely! Am I afraid or frightened or terrified? That’s a different kind of fear.

The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, contains a multitude of verses pertaining to the fear of God. Here’s a tiny sampling:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever. Psalm 111:10 NAS

Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. Psalm 33:8 NAS

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1 NAS

and he said with a loud voice, "Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters." Revelation 14:7 NAS

After searching thru the Bible and several references, I found several descriptions of what it truly means to fear God:

It’s having an awe and reverence that only comes from knowing Him.

It’s experiencing His presence and what He has done for me thru Jesus.

It’s to respect of Him and obey His word.

It’s understanding His awesome holiness.

It’s putting God first in my life and earnestly following Him.

I can’t quite find the words to express this very clearly, so I’m ‘borrowing’ a couple statements:

“Fearing God means having such a reverence for Him, that it has a great impact on the way we live our lives. The fear of God is respecting Him, submitting to His discipline, and worshipping Him in awe.”

The fear of God has three basic components:

To Know Him
To Worship Him (in honor & reverence)
To Obey Him

To fear Him is to know Him – yes, I am a God-fearing woman. To know Him also means to give myself daily to Him.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

we don’t read instruction manuals

There’s a new dishwasher in the kitchen. It’s so new-fangled, it should unload itself. It has a built in disposal, so no more scraping off food! Anyway, the wash-rinse-dry cycle wasn’t finishing. Last night I turned it off after four hours. The indicator light was stuck on ‘clean’. Instead of calling for service today, I decided to actually sit down and read the manual. It seems when the indicator light is stuck on ‘clean’, it means ‘clean’. It means the dishes are clean. It means you can either unload it, or go sit and enjoy a tall glass of iced tea.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Psalm 67

May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,

that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!

The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us.

God shall bless us;

Psalm 67 ESV

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


things to do *

win a water balloon fight

ride the amtrak train somewhere

learn how to fly fish

go fly fishing

visit Vermont in autumn

nap in a hammock

go for a hot air-balloon ride

stop wasting paper towels

get a very small butterfly tattoo

build a snowman

rent a cabin in the mountains

learn to make pottery

try paintballing

visit the beach in the winter

see a falling star

* partial list

Friday, February 6, 2009

lots of questions

I braved the below freezing temperatures and brisk wind today to pay a visit to the garden pond. This morning I realized it was very, very iced over when I saw a bright gold figure suspended motionless in the water. As I headed out with boiling water and heavy hammer, I hoped the poor little thing wasn’t trapped in the ice. I was glad to see the goldfish (I couldn’t see if it was Jacob or Boaz) disappear into the deeper end. It took great effort to break thru the 1½ inch thick ice. I finally was successful, and none too soon. My hands were beginning to feel numb.

If only I had paid more attention and dealt with icy conditions as necessary. If only I had tended to the maintenance when required. I hate to admit there were leaves frozen into the ice. If only I had taken a few minutes to clean them from the surface. Since I failed to do so, the bottom is covered with leaves, pine needles, and twigs. I know what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and how it needs to be done. Jake and Boaz depend on me (or hubby) for a happy little life. They don’t ask for much, and they have given me hours of enjoyment. If only...

How often have I regretted that I didn’t ‘do’, ‘say’, or ‘go’? It’s not like I don’t know what I should do, when I should do it, or how I should do it. And when I don’t know these things, I do know where I can find the answers. How many times have I missed an opportunity? How many times have I been a disappointment? How many times have I failed to do the right thing? How many times...? And still, why are there so many times I say “if only...”?

I feel regretful when evening comes, and I have wasted an entire day. I feel guilty when I don’t spend more time alone with God. I feel disgraceful when I don’t spend more time in the Word of God. I feel sorrowful when I don’t spend more time talking to God. I feel shameful when I don’t spend more time in the house of God...

Regret, guilt, disgrace, sorrow, shame...

And tomorrow, I’ll wake up and try all over again, and He will be right there with me. Whether I’m in the grocery store, taking a nap, working out at the gym, dusting the den, having lunch with a friend, driving from here to there, or whatever or wherever – He will be right there with me. He will be right there with me. Anywhere, everywhere, right there – He will be right there with me.

That’s the only way I can do anything at all – with God The Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and The Holy Spirit...right there with me...

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9 NAS

Thursday, February 5, 2009

i received this story yesterday, and thought it worth sharing

The Stranger

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Texas town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger...he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home... Not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... And NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name?....

We just call him 'TV.'

He has a wife now...We call her 'Computer.'

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

a couple of my favorite C S Lewis quotes...

* When we lose one blessing, another is often, most unexpectedly, given in its place.

* God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain, but without stain.

C S Lewis

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

the greatest one of all...

How often do we use the word ‘miracle’? It’s a miracle I didn’t oversleep! It’s a miracle these cookies didn’t burn! It’s a miracle the lightning strike didn’t blow out our computer! It’s a miracle you found your wallet with the cash still inside! It’s a miracle I passed that calculus test! It’s a miracle I wasn’t home when someone broke-in! It’s a miracle the stain came out of your expensive shirt! It’s a miracle this old dress still fits!

What do we consider a great miracle? Is it a cancerous tumor that suddenly disappears somewhere between two MRI scans? Could it be surviving a tornado underneath a collapsed house? What about a prognosis of wheelchair confinement, only to walk again thru inner strength and determination? Or a paycheck that wasn’t enough to eat and pay bills, but the checkbook register somehow had just enough? Is it a family who survived for days in a wrecked car down a steep ravine in freezing temperatures?

The Bible is full of miracles. The creation. The parting of the Red Sea. The feeding of the multitude. Daniel in the lion’s den. The blind man healed. The burning bush. Walking on water. Lazarus raised from the dead. The fall of Jericho. The calming of the storm.

But, what is the greatest miracle of all? It’s God Himself, sacrificing His only Son to pay for our sins, and if we believe, we will live with Him forever. It’s when we accept Jesus as our Savior, pray for forgiveness, and invite Him to live within our hearts. That may seem simplistic, and it is. It’s God’s simple plan of salvation. It’s the greatest miracle of all.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 NIV