Sunday, July 29, 2007

Where Are You?

My wonderful friend Connie left me a comment on my last post that said "where are you????? miss you..."

Where have I been? LOL I really don't know. It's been a strange week leaving my old job, saying my goodbye's and mentally preparing for a new job that starts tomorrow.

I know I've been on the PC a lot. I did write the draft for this weeks writing challenge at FaithWriters.com. However, I have not written a Little Lesson entry since Wednesday.

So where have I been. I've been here. I've been busy. I've been doing things. But what things? I have obviously not been doing what people count on me to do. I have not been making entries in Little Lessons and someone is missing something because of it. Perhaps they are missing encouragement. Or a challenge. Or companionship. Or inspiration. No matter what each of you come to Little Lessons looking for, it hasn't been here the last part of this week because I did not do my part.

Where are you not doing what you should be doing? Are you attending church but doing nothing while you are there? Is someone not being ministered to because you are just there, just doing your own things? Are you busy but not productive? What will you do today to be sure what you are doing is effective and pleasing to our Loving Lord?

John 9:4 (Amplified Bible) We must work the works of Him Who sent Me and be busy with His business while it is daylight; night is coming on, when no man can work.
2 Thessalonians 3:11 (New International Version) We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Got Milk?

Check out the dairy product giveaway at 5 Minutes for Mom. http://www.5minutesformom.com/1990/horizon-organics-contest/
and visit the contest sponsor Horizon Organics (http://www.horizonorganic.com/)

All entries must be in by Thursday, July 26th at 12am Eastern.

Are You Tired?

I'm tired.

I know I'm too young to be tired but I am.

To some I'm not so young, but to me I still am.

I got up yesterday morning at 4:00 am to take my parents to the airport. I was at work by 6:00 am. Then I came home and took a nap from around 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm.

As soon as dear hubby got home, we had some dinner then watched the second game of the Rangers double header.

And all I wanted to do was sleep through dinner and the game.

I went to bed last night around 10:30 pm and woke up at 6:00 am. With the nap yesterday, that should be plenty of sleep, right? Wrong! I am still very tired and still would love some sleep.

Still I press on. My day will still be filled with all the same things: drive to and from work, meetings, projects, dinner to fix, dishes to do, laundry, etc. Even though I'm tired and ready to sleep, the business of life still calls me to go, go, go.

Are you tired in your personal ministry? Are you ready for a nap? Even though you are exhausted do you go, go, go? If so, will you listen to the words of our Loving Lord as He says:

Psalm 46:10(KJV) Be still and know that I am God.
(The Message) Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
loving look at me, your High God,
Matthew 11:28 (NIV) Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
(The Message) Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?
Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover
your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Is Your Mind In Agreement?

So we needed to make our dinner plans for this evening. Mom and Dad have been graciously cooking the most delicious meals during their visit with us. As we say back home, we've been eatin' good!

We had left-overs last night and that is such a poor description of what we had. The food was even better the second time than it was the first. For those that don't already know, let me tell you, my Mom makes the best chicken 'n dumplings bar none! And my dad makes fabulous cornbread (white cornmeal not yellow). And those were just two of the items on the 'left-over' meal menu.

So tonight we decided we wanted to eat something different. I thought about ordering pizza but wasn't sure anyone else would want any. So I didn't say anything. Then I called Mom from work to see what her thoughts were and she said, "Well we could order pizza..." and I thought cool!

Then when dear hubby called this afternoon I said "Hey we are going to Incredible Pizza Company for dinner" ... you know what his response was "That's too weird...I was going to suggest that."

We were all of like mind regarding dinner. It made it easy to agree on dinner.

Our Loving Lord desires that we are "like-minded" regarding Him.

How will you find a practical application for today's verses? How will you 'put yourself aside'? How will you 'forget yourself long enough...'?

Philippians 2:1-4 (The Message) If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't
sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

How's Your Tell and Show?

"Do less telling and more showing." That is the advice that is often given out on Faithwriters.com regarding the weekly challenge entries.

Telling is "She ate her dessert."

Showing is "With the silver fork in her right hand, she slowly parted the bite of homemade peach ice cream from the rest of the bowl and lifted it to her mouth enjoying the fragrance that rose with the steam then let the sweet treat melt on her tongue and slide down her throat on its way to her growling stomach."

Showing leaves the reader with both an experience and a clearer understanding of the picture your words are trying to paint.

Of course, while listening to this reminder lately helped me get a "Highly Commended" (fifth place) in my entry level, it also clearly defined a "Little Lesson" as well.

What do we do when we share the Good News? Do we 'show' or 'tell'?

Think for a moment about how you share our Loving Lord with others...

Are you thinking?

Let's use our Loving Lord as an example. Picture Him out there with 5000 hungry mouths. He sees the loaves and fishes. He knows the Power within Him. Does He use this time to 'tell' about His miracle abilities or does He 'show' what He can do? Does he stand there and say.
"Ya know....I could satisfy every one's hunger with that itty bitty bit of food.
I have that ability. I could really knock your socks off just by speaking a few
words. Cool, huh?"

Or does He 'show' His mighty power?

Matthew 14:17-21 (The Message)"All we have are five loaves of bread and two fish," they said. Jesus said, "Bring them here." Then he had the people sit on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples. The disciples then gave the food to the congregation. They all ate their fill. They gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. About five thousand were fed.


Think again about what you do...

Do you just 'tell' them? Do you simply use verbal words and say "Jesus loves you" or "Have you accepted Him as your personal Lord and Savior" and then walk away? Do you talk the talk but forget the walk? Do you hand a person in need of a meal a $10 bill, say "God is Love" and continue on your way? Do you tell people how important it is to have missions projects and simply send money?

Or...

Or do you actively 'show' them His Love? Instead of just telling a hungry person that our Loving Lord can satisfy His every need...instead of throwing money at him and hurriedly continuing on your way...do you take him to a cafe, by his meal and yours, dine with him and listen to his story? Do you show the importance by being personally and actively involved in the project in a 'get your hands dirty' kind of way?

Are you going to 'tell' or 'show' His love today?

John 20:21 (King James Version) Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How Is Your Lord Different?

At work yesterday, I reviewed proposals for a new website design for our company. One of the pages we have planned will answer the question "How are we different?"

The purpose of this page is to let companies that are seeking to do business with us clearly see why they should elect to work with us instead of our competition. The initial draft was weak. It did hit on one or two key factors but did not showcase the uniqueness of our company and our product.

So I took a few minutes, asked a few questions, and put together simple bullet points that say why we are better than your other options.

How casually do we refer to the gift our Loving Lord has given us? When we communicate His love and His free gift of salvation do we play it down or do we showcase the uniqueness of His plan for our lives?

Are your bullet points...
  • came to earth
  • died on a cross
  • rose again
  • saved me

Or are they...

  • Our Heavenly Father sent His one and only precious Son from Heaven down to Earth
  • His precious Son was named Jesus and lived a perfect, blameless life but still He had to die a brutal death on a cruel cross...just because of MY sin and YOUR sin...who else would do something like that for you?
  • Then He rose again, as only God could do, and returned to the Father to prepare a place just for us.
  • When I invited Him in, He ran through the door of my soul and thankfully took over, became Lord of my life and daily directs my paths.
  • He is ever-faithful to supply all my needs

Do the people around you want to know your Loving Lord? Do they see the excitement of His work in your life? Do they understand the 'benefits' of serving our God versus serving other 'gods'?

John 17 (The Message) Jesus' Prayer for His Followers 1-5 Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said:
Father, it's time. Display the bright splendor of your Son
So the Son in turn may show your bright splendor.
You put him in charge of everything human
So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge.
And this is the real and eternal life:
That they know you,
The one and only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
I glorified you on earth
By completing down to the last detail
What you assigned me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor,
The very splendor I had in your presence
Before there was a world.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Has He Heard From You Lately?

When you use Internet Explorer 7, you can have tabs across the top of your internet browser so you can quickly click between several open pages at one time. Mine default to Google, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and Faithwriters.

Whenever I get a new email in my Yahoo Mail account the tab changes from "Y! (O unread) AT&T Yahoo..." to "Y! (1 unread) AT&T Yahoo..." or ever how many come in at that time. It's always exciting to glance over at that tab and see a number there. To know that I received a message from someone. I eagerly go to see who it is from. If it is junk mail or spam, I'm so disappointed. However if is from a family member or good blogging friend, I get so excited. I immediately open it to see what special message they sent just to me.

When it is spam or forwarded junk mail, I find myself thinking "Phooey! I thought that might have been from Connie or Wayne or..."

(Bear with me while I make this transition. Our Loving Lord is all knowing so I know He knows it's us when we call on Him. )

I wonder...when we 'ignore' our Loving Lord for a long time...I wonder if when Heaven's 'unread email' number changes...I wonder if He eagerly clicks on the tab thinking to Himself "I hope this is from {fill in your name}, I really want to hear from them".... And I wonder if He is disappointed when it's still not you or me contacting Him.

Have you sent a special communication to our Loving Lord lately? Have you told Him how much what He wrote means to you? Have you 'left a comment on His website' so that others too can know how you were blessed by His Word? If you haven't chatted with Him lately, will you make time to do so today?

Psalm 18:3 (New International Version) I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Do Your Words Match Your Emotions?

I participate in a weekly writing challenge at FaithWriters.com. Last weeks topic was "Confident" and this week it is "Happy".

So all last week, my friend Lucy (who also is participating in the challenges) and I used "confident" in our conversations. "I'm confident that I will enter"... "I'm not so confident anyone will think what I wrote it good"...and so forth.

The challenges run Thursday - Thursday. They only allow 200 entries so you should enter early to ensure that they don't run out of space for you. Still this week, I have not even started. And here it is Monday. When I saw Lucy early this morning, I greeted her with "I'm not happy yet...I've not even started on happy yet." Another friend, Desiree, heard the conversation and looked really confused. Since Desiree and I had been chatting and I 'seemed' happy, why would I say such a thing, right?

Now Lucy knew what I was talking about and we quickly filled Desiree in. However, if that conversation had been said in passing, without the luxury of educating another person on the story behind the story, Desiree would have been left in confusion.

How often do we do this with respect to our Loving Lord? We walk around singing "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart" but we gripe and complain about all the bad in our lives...or we say that we are excited about our faith then grumble about the church... We have words coming out of our mouth that don't match the emotions we have inside.

Will you commit today to both praise our Loving Lord and to keep a positive attitude? Will you share His love in word and in actions? Will you let the peace, love, joy, etc that He has placed in your heart shine out through your words?

Romans 15:6 (Amplified Bible) That together you may [unanimously] with united hearts and one voice, praise and glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).


Friday, July 13, 2007

Who Do You Know On The Back Road?

As most of you know, I don't like to drive on the freeway. So yesterday I went to pick up my parents at the airport. The airport is pretty much due north of where I work...north on one of the freeways. Still I took the back roads and enjoyed the ride.

One of the things I don't like about freeways is getting on them. Perhaps I don't trust my judgement to merge into traffic. I don't know. Once I'm driving on one, unless the traffic is horrific, I'm pretty much okay.

I wonder how many people today are enjoying the back roads of sin and worldliness, afraid to get on the salvation expressway. They are not sure they would be accepted by people in the Church. Not sure we'd welcome them...so they stay on the back roads enjoying their ride.

Will you help someone find the entrance ramp to salvation today? Will you help them merge into the Christian life? Will you help ensure their smooth transition through prayer, Bible study and simple friendship?

Luke 14:23 (King James Version) And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Is Your Space Reserved?

Since dear hubby works for the airline industry, we travel 'non-revenue, space available' or as some people call it 'stand-by'.

What this means is that the airline does not make money off of us when we fly (at today's fares, they don't make money off of revenue passengers either but that's another topic). Dear hubby and I fly 'free' and we get a few 'buddy passes' each year where family members can fly for a nominal fee.

So basically it works this way...we put our names on a list and hope that there are some empty seats. IF there are seats available, we get to get on and fly where we want to go. If not, we wait for the next flight. You are never sure if you will get on a plane or not. You might check before you leave home and find that there are 20 available seats then get to the airport and because another flight was cancelled, your flight is now completely full and you are 20th on the stand-by list. Or you might check before you leave and find that it is oversold by 10 and then get to the airport and find that they give you a seat immediately and when you board find several empty seats around you . There is no guarantee one way or the other.

I am so thankful that I do not have to try to get to Heaven on a space available ticket. And I'm equally thankful that I have a non-revenue ticket to get me there. See the price has been paid by the Owner so He is not making money off my trip AND in spite of me not paying the price myself, He has guaranteed me a seat on the trip there. And the cool thing is that I can have as many 'buddy passes' as I want in order to let my friends and family join me on the trip.

Do you have your 'get into Heaven free' pass? Have you asked our Loving Lord to come in and be your Savior and Lord? If not, will you today? If you are already 'booked' on the trip, who will you share your 'buddy passes' with today? Will you forward this entry to your friends that need an invition for our trip? I won't even suggest that if you forward this to 10 people in 10 minutes that you will received great financial reward here on earth but I'm pretty sure our Loving Lord who gave His life to pay your fare will be delighted that you shared the Good News with someone who needs Him in their life. Will you assist someone today with their reservation for Glory?
Romans 6:23 (New American Standard Bible) For the wages of sin is
death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Where Are You Putting Your Trust?

Funny how we all get them. But what do we do with them? I'm talking about chain emails. In days gone by, if someone sent us a chain letter promising great things to happen if you sent it to x number of people within x number of days, the letter would have been thrown away. Who would 'waste' money on postage and copy paper to forward a superstitious letter? Oh but now that email is 'free', why not forward every letter to everyone in your address book. (Funny how I don't ever get any "Little Lessons" forwarded back to me...guess the challenge to follow Christ on a daily basis isn't as 'valuable' as following superstitions.)

So today I received yet another chain email. It talks about this person who did not have five friends to forward the superstitious email to so they instead had bad luck. Funny thing is that at the end of the email it said that I had to send it to not 5 but TEN people in order to receive 'unbelievably good luck'. What happened? Why did the 'real' people in the letter only need 5 but the current recipients need 10?

Last night I had a delightful conversation with a cousin-in-law about churches. The focus of the conversation was salvation 'in Christ alone'. All through my life I have been taught "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" and "With God, all things are possible" and "in everything with prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known unto God." Our Loving Lord is all we need for salvation and all we need to make it through life.

So what do these two things have to do with each other? Everything! If God is enough, why in the world would we need to send chain letters via email for something good to happen to us? Isn't God good all the time? Isn't God the only 'good thing' we need to happen to us? If He is Lord and Director of our lives, doesn't He know the "plans He has for us" so that we can trust Him instead of putting false hope in electronic media?

What are you sharing today? Are you telling the world that our Loving Lord is enough? Or are you telling the world that He can't be trusted so you have to take a chance on the world's lottery? Will you share His Good News today instead of propagating the worlds deception?

Psalm 46:1 (New International Version) God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Can Your Carpenter Be Trusted?

We were able to get the irrigation repair and landscaping done in our yard on Friday. New underground pipes to drain the run-off and new retaining walls to redirect the flow of the water to the drainage pipes. I don't think we will ever have Lake Pool Equipment again.

I have great confidence that the water on that end of the house will now flow nicely into the drains and out to the street. If every thing works as designed we also will no longer have a lake in our front yard. If we could only say as much for the river in the street...oh well...that is up to the city.

So the only 'concern' we still had was the water coming into the 'big' room.

On Sunday afternoon we got a little bit of rain. Not a lot but the last time we got that small amount of rain, we did indeed get water in the big room. So Sunday after the rain stopped, I cautiously headed to the big room to see whether or not we had water in the room. Even though the 'problem' was 'fixed' outside I still anticipated seeing water flowing into the room. Now logic would say that I would expect dry floors after the repairs were made outside. But I had seen how little water it took previously to stream water in my room and I just didn't have full confidence that the repairs had worked.

So I walked cautiously into the big room, looked around behind the couch and...

....guess what....

There was....

...not any water at all!

I sighed a sigh of relief. Yes! The changes that were made were for real and the water was not coming in. I'm still feeling a bit hesitant about the first 'gully-washer' that we get but I feel reasonably sure that the water will go down the drain pipes and not into the room.

We come to our Loving Lord flooded with past sins and rivers of junk flowing in our lives. We hand our heart, soul, and mind over to Him and ask Him to repair the holes that sin and neglect have left behind. We know that He fixes it all because He told us He would. But what do we do when the first rains comes along? Do we trust that He is going to hold us safe and secure or do we go looking for the 'junk' that must be slipping through His repairs? When we find Him faithful, do we trust Him even more or do we still hold back thinking "Okay so you got me through a shower but what about a storm?"

Will you take time today to thank Him for patching up the holes in your life? Will you hand over the landscaping of your heart to Him and trust that when He is finished that His work will hold back the junk and keep it from mildewing in your heart? Will you approach His work in your life with confidence that He is the best Carpenter for your heart, soul, and mind?

Luke 6:48-49 (The Message)"If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the
swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss."

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Two For One

I'm going to do a two-for-one post. I have an award that I received that I need to post about and I have been tagged to do a 'meme'. Since we have family coming to see us on Thursday and we are still cleaning up from the water in the house, I have had to let both of these sit and wait for me.

First the award...My friend Connie at
Little Red Hearts from God has awarded me the Blogger Reflection award. You can read what she wrote on her June 29th post.

Award



Connie is one of my encourager's. Our Loving Lord put her in my life through the blog world. I look forward to reading her blog and hearing from her on almost a daily basis. Connie, thank you! I am honored.


On her award nomination page she says:

"I have a stipulation if you receive this award, I want to recognize the originator, a teen aged girl enthralled with Lord of the Rings. You can meet her here. Here are her stipulations for granting the award:"As for my award, it is called The Blogger reflection Award. Why? The reason for the title is because this award should make you reflect on five bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you.Five Bloggers who when you reflect on them you get a sense of pride and joy... of knowing them and being blessed by them.""This award is for the best-of-the-best so consider who you pick, carefully. This award should not be given to just anyone. If you're going to do the award don't just write a few words and slap it on your blog. Write real thoughts about these bloggers and what they've been to you, and if the bloggers you pick have already been given the award, don't be afraid to give to them again. They deserve it as many times as it's given."That's a pretty tall order from a 16 year-old girl,"

And here are my nominations...


1) I honestly must start with Connie! Not because of her nomination but rather because of her commitment to her 'Abba'. If I only read one blog a day, it is Little Red Hearts from God. I am challenged and encouraged each time I read her entries. She looks deep into the heart of God and listens to what He has to say and then writes it down for all of us to read. Thank you Connie for taking the time each day to share with us.


2) Holly at Crown Laid Down has shown me how to follow God's leading in your life even when it does not make any sense to those around you. She has reminded me not to listen to the nay-sayers when God says Yes or GO! If you want to read the story of a couple that has been challenged by God and followed Him, visit Holly soon.


3) Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage has a ministry that touches many lives. She devotes her blog to helping those in marriages where one is a believer and one is not. Since our Loving Lord has brought me and dear hubby through some very challenging times, I know there was a time when I would have been ministered to in a special way through this website. I am still blessed by many of the things the Lord leads her to write.


4) Patty at Girlfriends in God reminds me to see God in everything including the alphabet. About once a week she posts a new letter and challenges us to think of all the things we know about our Loving Lord that start with that letter. This week's letter is Q. Not an easy one but she did it. "Quick to forgive. Question answer-er. Quiet times." She also reminds us to be thankful by participating in Thankful Thursdays.


5) Iris at Sting my Heart is an encourager to others. She too has a variety of things on her blog. When she writes from her heart, I am indeed challenged. I think she is the originator of Thankful Thursdays. She awards encourager awards to other but I think she is the one deserving of such an award.


Some of the above have already received this award and that is OK. These are the five that help me 'reflect' on our Loving Lord.



Now the meme thing....once again I was tagged by Connie for this. Here are the rules:1. those tagged will share 5 things they dig about Jesus…2. those tagged will tag 5 other bloggers…3. those tagged will post a comment here with their name and a link to their “dig” Jesus list…


1) I dig that Jesus doesn't mind if we use modern day vernacular to talk about Him as long as we maintain respect for Him. Some people may be offended that we use the words "dig" and "Jesus" in the same sentence but I think Jesus meets us where we are...just like He did the woman at the well.


2) I dig that Jesus can be trusted to provide for all of our needs. He knew the needs that we would have as a result of this rain and He has provided so far.


3) I dig that Jesus gives us peace in the midst of trials.


4) I dig that Jesus knows me better than I know myself and He will never lead me where I should not be.


5) I dig that Jesus puts people in my life to encourage me like Teena who encouraged me to blog in the first place and each reader that let's me know when our Loving Lord uses a Little Lesson to meet them where they are.


As for the five people I need to tag...well...you're it! If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged. If you have a blog, post your reply on your blog. If not, post a comment below and let us know your five! (If you are a subscriber that gets this in your email then click on the link below that follows "Posted By Sharon @ Little Lessons to" below.)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Is What You Are Offering Empty Or Full?

Recently, I visited a sandwich place near my work. They had a sign near the beverage center that read "We want to hear your comments on our new sweet tea!"

Now I L.O.V.E sweet tea so I was ready to try it! Ready to let them hear what I had to say about it.

(For those of you in the South, this may be a shock to you, but sweet tea is NOT readily available in most restaurants once you leave the southeast. For those of you in the North, sweet tea is made by adding the sugar or sweetener to your tea as soon as it brews, while it's still hot, then bringing the tea to ice cold serving temperature and still serving it with ice...YUM!!!)

So I filled my glass with ice...put it under the spout where the 'new sweet tea' would be coming out and....

Nothing.

Empty.

Sigh.

So I filled my glass with unsweet tea and added the pink packets of sweetener to it. I was so disappointed. They advertised 'sweet tea' so I expected sweet tea...but it was empty.

I wonder if that is what our unchurched friends find when we invite them to join us on our journey. I wonder if we 'advertise' that we are walking a spirit-filled life but when they need us all we give them is platitudes so they find us 'empty'. I wonder if we tell them about the great fellowship that can be found in a Christ-centered church so they go and visit but no one welcomes them, everyone just welcomes each other, the ones they know, so our friends leave having found the church 'empty'.

What are you offering to those around you today? Are you offering them a friend that is full of the Spirit of our Loving Lord or are you simply offering them a dry, empty nothingness? Are you doing your part to let visitors at your church know that our Loving Lord 'sweetens' your church with His love or are you letting them find your church empty and hollow? What can you do this weekend to show the love of our Lord to one person who lives in your neighborhood or visits your church so that they will find the 'container' full instead of empty?

2 Corinthians 4:5-6 (The Message)Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we're proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, "Light up the darkness!" and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and
beautiful


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Are You Experiencing Droughts or Flood?

"Rain, rain go away" The end. That's all.

I'm not adding the part about coming again another day. Not this time.

When the rain first started (what seems like forty days and forty nights ago), I was delighted! We were so tired of drought conditions and water restrictions. So tired that I said, "I'm not complaining about the rain. It's so much better than the drought. I'll take it."

And take it we did.

And now I'm over the rain. I just want it to end. I hear there is this thing called a sun that provides light from the sky. I'm beginning to have my doubts that such an item exists!

I'm not the first to experience too much of something. Noah, too, experienced too much rain...and he was prepared for it. Job experienced too much suffering...and he stayed strong in our Loving Lord who saw Him through it all. Stephen saw too much persecution...and paid with his life. God saw too much sin and...gave His Son to die to pay for it.

Where are you spiritually today? Are you in a drought or flooded? Is your drought because you are not actively participating in the faith or because our Loving Lord is walking with you through a dry and barren time? Are you flooded with suffering or spritual success? Are your spiritual floods challenges that are developing strength in you? Or are your spiritual flood the blessings that He is pouring out in your life? Either way, are you giving Him thanks for never leaving your side?

Psalm 136:1-3 (The Message)
Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits.
Thank the God of all gods,
His love never quits.
Thank the Lord of all lords.
His love never quits.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

How Does The Cost Affect You?

So we tore out a bunch of the carpet last night, right?

It was the right thing to do. Really. We really know that it was the right thing to do. We did it without thinking much about it. We had talked over dinner about the various options for new floor covering. We don't want ceramic tile. We don't really want carpet in there again. We love wood but it is very costly. We think we want Pergo or something like it. Looks like wood but is easier to care for.

We know that we have to first and foremost fix the drainage problem that is causing the water to come in. No need to put down new floor covering if the water is going to continue to be able to get in the room. We should have the cost estimates for fixing that within a few days.

In the meantime we started surfing the web to get an idea of what it will cost to get the new flooring and have it installed. We found some that we liked ... and ... sticker shock! It cost THAT much? Oh my! Maybe we should have just left the carpet...maybe we made a mistake...the materials are sort of affordable but the installation is another story...

So we reconsidered our options. We do feel after continued searching that we can find something within our budget and know that we indeed did do the right thing. We just have to choose wisely.

Is that how it was for you when you came to our Loving Lord? Did you see your soaking wet sin and His beautiful, awesome saving power and think "Let's rip this old heart out and put in His new one?" Did you ask Him in without a thought of the cost? Did you even think of the price He paid to offer you this great salvation? Did you think at all about the cost of following Him daily? The cost of 'letting go' of your sinful ways, sinful nature and 'installing' His ways and His lifestyle? Are you still living with bare concrete floors in your heart because you don't want to surrender completely to His will for your life? Will you ask Him to reveal to you today the decorations that you need in your heart and ask Him to fill your heart with whatever He desires, no matter what the cost?
Ephesians 1:15-19 (The Message) That's why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn't stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I'd think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Thank You, An Update On Today, And What Matters

Thank you all so much for your words of encouragement today.

So let's catch up from my last post.

Dear Hubby was home today so he went out and cleaned out the drainage paths, dug under the fence some more (more rain is expected every day this week so we need to be prepared) and searched for the source of the water in the big room.

In the midst of his search for the source of the water, nature helped him out...it started raining, again. With more water falling, more came in the room. He found part of the reason had to do with a hole in the gutter downspout that caused water to pool where water shouldn't pool...and with nowhere for it to go, the water just invited itself into our big room.

We called on the assistance of a 'renovation' company. Their answer was, that we could do, for just a few dollars, what they could do for a thousand or more. We just needed to rent a carpet blower.

We called on an irrigation guy to give us an estimate on fixing the drainage in our backyard to ensure the water goes around the house instead of through the house but he won't be here until tomorrow morning.

So off to the hardware store we went to rent a blower to blow the carpet and concrete dry.

We had originally, before all the rain and unwelcome water, planned a 'date night' for tonight. Then that got put on hold because of a work commitment, but that got set aside because of the work that needs to be done to clean up this mess.

So our 'date' night tonight consisted of eating pizza out and coming back home and ripping out 3/4 of the carpet in the big room. Yep! That's right...the carpet and padding was so wet, so bad, that with the risk of mold here in Texas we had to make the decision to just take it out. Now we will start the search for a new floor covering for that room.

I'm exhausted. But I'm blessed. I have my family and we are all healthy. We lost some carpet and have to incur the expense to replace it but that is just 'stuff'.

Here is what else happened today...One of my good friends from where we used to live "A" instant messaged me and told me that some mutual friends of ours "K" and "R" lost their married daughter yesterday. She was shot with a single gunshot, in her home. It is not a good situation at all. I can not image receiving a phone call telling me that a son or daughter of mine had been killed.

My carpet and flooring is just a hiccup in life compared to what K & R are dealing with tonight. I beg you, if you are reading this, please stop and say a prayer for this precious family. K & R are very strong, active believers. I know their faith will get them through this, however I know that your prayers will help them as well.

What are you dealing with today that you consider a problem? Is it life-changing or life-threatening? If not, are you keeping it all in perspective?
Acts 20:24 (Contemporary English Version) But I don't care what happens to me, as long as I finish the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to do. And that work is to tell the good news about God's great kindness.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Update

Little Lessons are usually written Monday through Friday with occasional 'special editions' on the weekends. I had planned a 'special edition' for this weekend. Saturday was very busy and over before I realized it. Sunday afternoon was set aside to write the 'special edition'.

Best laid plans....

Have you heard that we have had a little bit of rain here in the Dallas-Ft Worth area? We had the second wettest June on record and only missed breaking the record by something like a half-inch. We've had so much rain with no where for it to go.

So today... we had what we usually call Lake Patio in our back yard. Our small patio accumulates the water run-off from our backyard and, usually, I said usually it runs down a drainage path the the end of the house then down the side of the house past the pool equipment under the fence and out to the street...most of the draining taking place underground. But for some reason today, Lake Patio just kept rising.

So in my shorts, t-shirts and bare feet, I headed out the door, in the pouring rain to try to encourage the water to do what it is supposed to do....I walked all along the drainage path clearing any debris that I could find in the rising water. I thought things were indeed flowing better.

I came back in and found that the small throw rug in front of the patio door was soaked. Water must be getting in somehow. I stuffed the bottom of the door with a towel to try to keep the carpet dry. A short time later, I checked the patio door again to see how the patio looked.

Shock!

It was now about 2 inches above the bottom of the door. No way to open the door now. Water would flood my fireplace room. So out the front door and around the house I headed. We now not only had Lake Patio but also Lake Pool Equipment. And that lake was about halfway up to my knee. We have a fairly new fence on that side of the house and apparently the bottom is too close to the ground for the water to flow under...when it floods that is.

So off to the front of the house to try to dig a trench under the fence that would let the water flow from Lake Pool Equipment into Circleview River (the sides of our street always look like a river if we get any rain at all). With the trench-ette hollowed out, water started moving like rapids. And finally Lake Patio started to recede as well.

So now I could sit to write Little Lessons...right?

Wrong! I found that the water had indeed seeped onto the carpet in the fireplace room. So out come the towels to sop up as much as possible and the fans to try to dry it out.

Then.

Then I went into the master bathroom (which, just so you know, does NOT have a door leading to the outside) and when I stepped in the room...squish. What?!?!?! So I pulled back the carpet and the concrete under the carpet and mat was soaked. Since I have new tile to put in the room but just haven't got to that job yet, I just ripped out the carpet and padding. I called my son to come help me carry it out to the trash cans in the garage.

Got to the garage...which is on the other end of the house from my bathroom... moved two trash cans.. that ARE NOT near the garage doors...to get to the trash can that I wanted him to put the carpet in...and guess what was under the trash cans...you got it...more water!

Not long after that I saw my son walking the perimeter of our 'big room...again not near any outside doors at all...and I hated to do it but I had to ask...."more water?"....yes. sigh.

At this point do you laugh or cry?

I did what I could then headed out to the evening service at the church I have been going to with my sister-in-law (for newer readers, we are in the search for a new church home and do believe that this church is the one we will be going to but this is the first time we have visited the evening service).

I still do not know where the bathroom, garage, and big room water came from for sure.

So now, is the first time I have had all day to try to write my 'special edition' which I could have written instead of this diary of my day ...but I chose to share these details and ask you to keep me and my family in your prayers as we see just how much of our flooring we can salvage and what will need to be replaced. And as we find some to help fix the drainage in our backyard in order to prevent worse disasters in the future.

So the 'special edition' will just have to wait....

Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message) Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.