Friday, January 30, 2009

What Do You Think?

I've always know it.

You know it too. You know that I prefer primary side roads over the freeways where I live. But know I know it's really true.

I take the road less traveled. How do I know?

I do not drive by even one Starbucks on my way to work using my preferred route.

Oh, yeah, I see a Little Lesson in that. But today I want to find out if you do.

If you are reading this on Facebook or through subscribed mail, please go to stowebear.blogspot.com. Once you get here, click on "Comment" at the bottom of this post. Then tell us what Little Lesson life application you see in the above.

I'll be back in a few days to share my thoughts...after I've had a chance to be inspired by yours.

Looking forward to seeing you here soon...............

Monday, January 26, 2009

Are The Changes In Your Life Hot?

"You look great. What did you do different?" my friend asked as we walked out of the Sunday morning service.
"Everything!" I replied, smiling.

"You look HOT!"...in Bible study...another friend...as an afterthought she said "Is it okay for two middle-aged married women to say that to each other" and we both laughed.

'Everything' was different. New glasses, new hair color with highlights, wearing makeup which I rarely do and, most of all, I felt good about what had changed.

Our Loving Lord wants us to look "HOT" spiritually as well. How do we do that? We let Him change us from the inside out. We let Him change our attitudes. We follow His Word. Especially the 'one another' commands: Love one another, be kind to one another, serve one another, comfort one another, encourage one another, pray for one another.

So many of us spend many hours and way too many dollars trying to look good to the world. I wonder what our world would be like if we spent those hours and dollars on not only trying to look spiritually good to the world but also being spiritually good in the world.

Little Lesson Life Expression
What changes will you make today to be spiritually hot? Will you spend more time serving those in need? Will you let our Loving Lord change your negative attitude into a positive one? How will you change today to be hot for Him?

Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What Change Will You Believe In?

Today in the United States of America, we have the privilege of doing something few, if any, other countries get to do. We get to swear into office the next leader of our country. A leader that was elected by the people of this great country. Every four years we have this privilege. Inauguration Day falls on January 20th every four years. [January 20th is also my nephew's birthday so every four years the nation celebrates with him :-) Happy Birthday "Jr."]

So today as the festivities start in Washington DC, many people are looking forward to a man fulfilling a campaign promise. A promise that was made by both of the major parties candidates. A promise for change. "Change you can believe in" was our new president's campaign theme.

With all due respect to our new leader, the change that I can believe in is much more personal and much bigger than he is. The change that I can, and do, believe in comes from history. It comes from a day over 2000 years ago when our Loving Lord died on a cross to help me (and you) change from our sinful nature to His nature. The change I believe in is possible because He rose from the grave and went to prepare a place for me.

Because of the change that our Loving Lord provides, I can face the challenges created yesterday, the new challenges of today, and the ones that will come in the future.

Little Lesson Life Expression
Regardless of your political leaning, where are you choosing to place you belief today? Are you going to give glory to another human being and trust him for change? Or are you going to lift your eyes to the Maker of the Universe, to the Savior of the World, to our Loving Lord and say "Jesus, YOU are the change I believe in"?

Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Monday, January 19, 2009

How Do You View A Presidency?

Today we bid farewell to our current President and prepare to inaugurate our next one tomorrow.


From the comments I have read on Facebook and other places on the Internet, I know some people are thinking "This can not happen fast enough."


Whether you loved him as President or hated him as President, the fact remains that he was our President for 8 years. Whether or not you are excited about our next President doesn't change the fact that we will have a new President tomorrow.

So how do we face today and how do we prepare for tomorrow?

Perhaps by remembering who really has been in control and who will be in control tomorrow...our Loving Lord. We can't change the past and only He knows the future.

Little Lesson Life Expression
As one presidency ends, will you commit to walk away from negative gossip about what should have been or could have been? As another presidency begins, will you commit to pray daily for this new leader to have wisdom to lead us according to our Loving Lord's plans for our lives?

Exodus 22:28 (Amplified Bible)
You shall not revile God [the judges as His agents] or esteem lightly or curse a ruler of your people.

Proverbs 16:1 (The Message)
Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Who Helps You Navigate?

Tuesday was my first day to report for possible Jury Duty.

In downtown.

I don't drive our freeways and I don't drive downtown.


So of course I took the train, the TRE (Trinity Railway Express), and then caught a bus to get me nearer to the Tarrant County Justice Center.


Although I had my directions in hand, not wanting to get lost along the way, I asked a lot of questions. I asked questions to be sure I was on the right train. When I got off the train, I inquired about the right bus to get me near my destination. On the bus, I asked to be notified when to get off for Jury Duty.
At the bus stop, the driver told me this was my stop and gave me directions to get the the Justice Center.

I started walking, following what I understood to be his directions. When I did not go to the left at one intersection, a woman who had been on the bus, a woman who knew downtown, a woman who knew where I need to go, spoke up and said, "You're going to the Justice Center, right? You need to cross this way with me."

She was right.

I followed her and my destination was straight ahead of me.


As we travel through our daily lives, we check our road map and follow the directions. In other words, we read our Bibles and look for our Loving Lord's guidance as we make decisions. Sometimes we might get confused, disoriented, lost. That's when our Loving Lord places His people along our path. Someone to share an encouraging word. Someone to stop us from going astray. Someone to coach us on toward success. These people are not 'accidents'. We need them and we need to use discernment as we listen to their coaching. Not everyone that tries to give us advice will be on our side. Some will try to derail us. The enemy sends his 'counsel' as well. That's why we need to start with studying the guidebook that our Loving Lord has given us...so we can recognize wise counsel versus the enemy's counsel.

Little Lesson Life Expression

What directions are you listening to today? Are you relying solely on yourself? If so, will you look around you today and see who our Loving Lord has place along your path to provide insight for your journey? Will you rely on His Word to keep you from falling prey to unwise counsel?

Proverbs (The Message)

11:14 Without good direction, people lose their way;
the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.

13:10 Arrogant know-it-alls stir up discord,
but wise men and women listen to each other's counsel.

19:20 Take good counsel and accept correction—
that's the way to live wisely and well.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Do You Have A Capital I In The Middle?

While Pastor Gregg was preaching Sunday, as usual I was taking notes.

My penmanship is not that great. Be glad you are reading this on-line and not in a handwritten journal. You might not be able to read my writing.

As he was making that point on slave to sin versus slave to righteousness, when I wrote the word 'sin', even I couldn't read it. So I rewrote the letter "i" in the middle of the word. I rewrote it as a capital I. So my paper read "Slave to sIn".

Do you see it? I've probably known it in the past but I've never actually seen it. At least not that clearly.

... Right in the middle of sin ... is a big capital ... I.

When everything in my life centers around me, I'm more likely to fall into the enemy's trap. I'm more likely to sin...to be a slave to sin.

Little Lesson Life Expression
Is your focus on you making your life focus on sin? Will you change your focus today? Will you focus on our Loving Lord and let Him 'deliver you from evil'?

Galatians 5:16-17 (New Living Translation)

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.


Monday, January 12, 2009

What Are You Slave To Today?

Pastor Gregg is preaching a sermon series on "New Year, New You". This past Sunday, one of his points was that we are either slave to sin or slave to righteousness.


As is often the case, my mind wandered down it's own path as he made this point.


Before you read on, please understand that I know that I'm not perfect and I have made mistakes and sometimes I have flat out sinned.


With that said ... I came to know my Loving Lord at a very young age. I have parents that raised me in His ways and expected that I would 'be good'. I attended a great but very strict Christian school for 3 years starting just a few years after I accepted Christ. My best friend in elementary school, Amy, was a 'very good' Christian girl. In high school, I made another friend, Rene', that was also a 'very good' Christian girl. Amy and Rene' were role models for me although they did not know it at the time. Each of these influences challenged me to to always be a slave to 'right'-ness. A slave to doing what is right and not veering off the straight and narrow. I have not been particularly 'righteous' ... just one to always try to do the 'right' thing. Many are the times that I had opportunities to do 'fun' things that were contrary to the Word of God. Being a 'slave' to right, it was an easy choice to say no. Yet remember...I have not always done the right thing. I encourage those on my staff at my day job to spend their energy on doing the the right things rather than spending that energy trying not to get caught doing something they should not do.


According to their actions, it seems that some others that are close to me, choose or have chosen to be instead a slave to sin. The choose selfish desires over right living. They let their desires keep them in sin instead of choosing right actions that could set them free from the slavery of sin.


Little Lesson Life Expression
What are you slave to today? Are you a slave to sin? Selfish desires? Bad habits? Or are you a slave to 'right'eousness? Are you choosing to let our Loving Lord's commands keep you free from acting on those temptations? Are you choosing this day to be a 'slave' to Christ and live for Him? If you are currently a slave to sin, will you let this day be the day you receive your freedom from that slavery and voluntarily submit to being a slave to His righteousness?

Romans 6:15-23 (Contemporary English Version)


15What does all this mean? Does it mean we are free to sin, because we are ruled by God's wonderful kindness and not by the Law? Certainly not! 16Don't you know that you are slaves of anyone you obey? You can be slaves of sin and die, or you can be obedient slaves of God and be acceptable to him. 17You used to be slaves of sin. But I thank God that with all your heart you obeyed the teaching you received from me. 18Now you are set free from sin and are slaves who please God.


19I am using these everyday examples, because in some ways you are still weak. You used to let the different parts of your body be slaves of your evil thoughts. But now you must make every part of your body serve God, so that you will belong completely to him.


20When you were slaves of sin, you didn't have to please God. 21But what good did you receive from the things you did? All you have to show for them is your shame, and they lead to death. 22Now you have been set free from sin, and you are God's slaves. This will make you holy and will lead you to eternal life. 23Sin pays off with death. But God's gift is eternal life given by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Are You Getting Your Treats?

Every morning, Tigger and Tiger get cat treats. The later I sleep, the more anxious they get about their treats. They desire them as early in the day as they can get them. If I first sit at the computer, like I did this morning, they sit near by and....they really do this...Tiger particularly...they scowl at me. It's like they are saying "Stop what you are doing! Don't you know how important our treats are?"

We, too, have treats waiting on us each morning. Our Loving Lord desires us to come to Him first thing each morning and get the treats He has waiting for us in His Word. Oh, for each of us to be as anxious to get into His Word as Tigger and Tiger are to get their morning treats!

Little Lesson Life Expression
Did you have your treats from the Bible this morning? If not, what did you place a higher priority on? Will you re-evaluate that priority tomorrow morning?

Genesis 19:27 (New International Version)
Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the LORD.

Mark 1:35 (New International Version)
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.

Lamentations 3:22 (The Message)
God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left.



Monday, January 05, 2009

Are You Afraid Of Movement?

Tiger, my boy cat, loves to come in the bathroom with me. He loves to move around through my ankles showing affection and wanting attention. I pet him and sometimes pick him up and we cuddle and have "purr-time". When "purr-time" is over, I put him down and he rubs up against my ankles again. As soon as I make the slightest movement that indicates I'm about done, he runs away. As long as I'm sitting still, he stays as close as he can. However, if he thinks I'm about to move, he leaves.


I wonder if this is how we are with our Loving Lord. As long as we can come to Him on our terms, we "cuddle" Him and stay close. We stay in our comfort zone. But what happens when we see Him start to move? Do we get anxious about what our role might be in His movement and run away? Or do we stay close and see what He might be getting ready to do? Do we get excited that we might be part of His plans?


Little Lesson Life Expression
As you draw close to our Loving Lord today, will you ask Him to reveal to you what His plans are for your life? Will you look to see when He is moving in situations around you and join in? Or will you run away afraid of what He might be doing that may cost you your time or your money? Are you willing to miss out on potential blessing because of your fear? Will you release that fear to Him today?

1 Corinthians 12:6 (Contemporary English Version)
and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Will You Read And Follow The Directions?

Tired of cold cereal and breakfast bars ... and needing to reduce the sugar in my diet ... I decided to have oatmeal for breakfast. Instant oatmeal. Brand new box. I got out the bowl and read the directions on the box. And reread the directions. Then I opened the box ... and ... I ... read the directions on the individual packet. The directions gave me some choices like use either milk or water and that if I wanted thicker oatmeal I could use less liquid.

That's when I realized it.

The directions did not change. They were the same each time I read them on the outside of the box and they were the same inside and outside the box. I had some choice in how to apply the directions but the directions themselves did not change.

Our Loving Lord has provided us with directions for life. You can find them in the Bible. And whether you read your Bible at home or at church, the directions never change. Just like with my oatmeal, you have some choices of how to live out the directions. You can't change the directions but you can choose how you apply them. When you "make a joyful noise" for our Loving Lord you can choose to sing hymns or you can choose to sing scripture songs. When you "go ye therefore and teach all nations", you can do that face-to-face by going as a missionary or you can be a pen-pal with someone and share Christ through pen and paper or email.

Little Lesson Life Expression
What directions are you following today? Are you using your Bible as the direction book for your life? How are you applying those directions in your daily life? Will you make a decision today to make the best possible choices so that the way you live will show our Loving Lord to those around you?

Proverbs 11:14 (The Message)
Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances
.