Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Where's The Worth?

(Dear hubby asked me if I really had the dream I mentioned yesterday. In case you too were wondering, yes. My reply to him was actually "Yes. You know I don't make up anything in the Little Lessons." To me, what makes Little Lessons special is what the tag line states: "Looking for the heavenly meaning in the every day events of life.")

Last Friday, the president of the company I work for made a statement that got me thinking. I later told dear hubby that I would be writing a Little Lesson about what he said.

Then we left for Family Life's Weekend to Remember and I did not get a chance to write it. On Sunday night, a popular television show stole my line. Dear hubby hollered from the other room "Hey, there's your line." Yeah.

Still I think this is pretty cool...so you get it anyway :-)

The president was speaking on the state of the economy and how it was impacting our company as well as each of our own 401K's. He reminded us that for most of us our retirement funds are "worth less" today than they were a year ago.

I heard him say that our savings were "worthless" but quickly realized what he actually said.

The popular television show was discussing the value of one particular pizza parlor. The husband/owner said that if certain changes were not made it would be "worthless" and the wife said "No. It will be worth less but not worthless."

On Friday, when I first started heard the words, I could not get over how powerful the thought was.

In our lives, we make investments. We invest in our families. We invest in our friends. We (hopefully) invest time in our church. We invest in our heavenly future...in the Kingdom of our Loving Lord.

But what happens when we "oops"? What happens when we make a mistake, do something bad, hurt our reputation? Our tendency may be to consider ourselves "worthless" for the Lord. We think one bad action depletes our entire investment and makes us worthless for Him and for those around us.

But are we?

We may, for a time, be "worth less" but that's what repentance and forgiveness are all about. With Christ in our lives, we are never worthless. Please hear that again. You have worth! No matter what you've done, what you've been through, where you are in life...You have worth!!!

Little Lesson Life Expression
What does your current spiritual investment portfolio look like? Are you struggling to find any value in it? Are you feeling worthless in your witness? Will you accept today that you are not worthless? Accept that you have worth and take just one small step today to share with someone how our Loving Lord is helping you reinvest in His kingdom?

2 Timothy 1:13-14 (The Message)

So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It's as sound as the day you first heard it from me. Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us.

James 5:19-20 (The Message)

My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God's truth, don't write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Are You A Banana Or A Muffin?

I had a dream last night. In the dream, a Bible Study leader was telling each of us to come up and get a banana and a muffin. Each of us went and picked up one of each. Then...


Then I woke up! Arrrgghhhh!!!
What was the lesson??? Why did I wake up before I heard the lesson. I stayed in bed and thought about it. What can I learn from a banana and a muffin? To do so, I had to think about what I know about a banana and a muffin.

A banana is a single unit that comes from a bunch. It has a hard protective exterior. The interior starts out quite firm and turns to mush if it gets too ripe. If it is opened at just the right time, it will still be firm and can be cut into slices for use in cereal or as a mid-afternoon snack. As it ripens, it becomes perfect for baked recipes. It you wait too long to eat the banana, your only choice will be to throw it away.

A muffin is made from a variety of individual ingredients. Some are individual ingredients like an egg. Some are liquid ingredients like oil or milk. Some are dry ingredients like flour, salt, sugar or spices. In most cases, you would not eat the individual ingredients. A muffin's ingredients must be carefully measured and mixed together. You also would not eat the mix. A muffin must be cooked, go through the fire, in order to be enjoyed.

A banana, in the view of this writer, is one who refuses to let their hard protective exterior be peeled away. One who pull apart from the bunch they are created with but refuses to be part of something bigger. They never let those around them taste of the goodness of who they are deep within. They have so much to offer but they just stand apart and keep all their gifts to themselves.

A muffin, on the other hand, has allowed our Loving Lord to take the best and worse of who they are, the sweet and bitter of their lives, and blend it in with others in their local church body in order to produce a sweet tasting combination that is nourishment to others who come seeking Him. To be part of a muffin, we must let down our tough exterior and allow our Loving Lord to blend us in according to His will and purpose for our life.

Little Lesson Life Expression
How would you describe yourself today? Are you a banana, standing off to the side, keeping all your gifts to yourself? Or are you a muffin, fully involved in what He'd have you do? Or... Are you an ingredient that's ready but not yet committed? Are you peeled back, sliced and mushed, but not yet in the bowl being mixed and prepared for the oven? Will you ask our Loving Lord to put you in a local church mix so that your flavor can add flavor to those who need your gifts?

Philippians 3:15-16 (The Message)

So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.

Monday, February 09, 2009

What Volume Are You Set On?

Grab your cell-phone.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

Got it? Good.

If your phone is like mine, there's a button on the side that lets you change the volume. Leaving out the vibrate options, mine goes in this order: Loud, Soft, Silent. Is yours similar?

Since my phone has to be on Silent or Vibrate when I'm at work, every morning I go through this list from Loud to Soft/Vibrate and then in the afternoon as I head home, I go again through the list and change it back to Loud.

As I walk in the building each weekday morning, I see the list go ... Loud ...Soft ... Silent... and I'm reminded of what happens to many of us as believers. Can you see it?

Our Loving Lord comes into our lives and we are e-x-c-i-t-e-d! We are LOUD! We want to shout from the mountain tops! We want the whole world to come and experience what we have.

Then... Then we return to the 'real world' and we are reminded about what is politically correct to say in our neighborhoods and our workplaces. We realize that we may be a bit too loud. We may been seen as obnoxious when all we are really trying to do is spread the good news of our Loving Lord. So what happens then? We tone it down a bit. Limit our audience. We put our spiritual volume on Soft. We don't want to offend anyone now, do we? We listen to the world and keep quiet. And then almost naturally, we get so quiet. We are no longer even sharing hope. We've gone silent. Silent on sharing salvation. Silent on matters of life. Silent on all Biblical issues.

Little Lesson Life Expression
Where is volume right now as you read this? Is it on Loud? If so, what will you do today to maintain your strength and ensure your volume is not reduced? If it's on soft, do you know why? Has someone turned down your volume and quenched the Spirit in your life? If so, will you call out to our Loving Lord and ask Him to renew the strength of your witness today? Have you gone Silent? Is your witness non-existent? If so, will you ask our Loving Lord to help you share His light and hope with someone you meet today? Let's all turn up the volume today!

Luke 9:26 (Contemporary English Version)

If you are ashamed of Me and My message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when He comes in His glory and in the glory of His Father and the Holy Angels.

I Hear You...I Do Know You Are There...Thank You!

Well, my, my, my .....

You all are indeed out there in readershipland. :-)

I've heard encouraging words from many of you today. Some of you were caught by surprise at my tongue-in-check summary of how few of you there are. In case you missed it, in my previous post, I was looking for you to provide the lesson. I asked the readers to read the snippet about the road less traveled, the road with no Starbucks, and share with us all the lesson our Loving Lord showed to you....only a handful responded.

No worries...I'm not going away...I'm still writing...because I know, and as many of you also reminded me, this is often as much a reminder for me of how to live as it is a ministry to each of you who stop by occasionally and to those that subscribe.

Since I know you are there, will you do me a favor or two? One is: If you see a different lesson in a Little Lesson, go to the website and post a comment on that entry telling us what God is showing you so that others can benefit from it. The other favor is: Will you share Little Lessons with those that are important to you? I know many of you forward me all the cute, funny, or inspiring emails that you receive from friends. Will you share these Little Lessons as well? Thanks!

Thank you also for your ongoing prayer support...Our Loving Lord knows I need you lifting me up in that way!!!! :-) :-) :-)

Be sure to be here tomorrow...with cell phone in hand...for a lesson that has been a long time in coming...........

What Is The Road Less Traveled?

In the last 10 days I have found out that Little Lessons has just a hand-full of readers...Rick, Rose, Connie, and Anonymous, all who responded on the website and Laura who emailed me directly. Although I really thought Little Lessons had more readers, I will still follow my Loving Lord's direction and write these lessons as I see them happen around me.

So what did the road less traveled with no Starbucks mean to me? One thing I see is this: Along the road of life we encounter the "everyone is doing it" philosophy. We are tempted by peer pressure. However, I think we are expected to be different. To take the straighter, more narrow road. The road with less options for variation. To be sanctified which means to be set apart. We don't need the things of this world. We can enjoy things like relationships but we have to look in the Word to see how to relate. We can enjoy having financial blessings but we need to follow Biblical principles in how we use that money.

Little Lesson Life Expression
What road will you take today? Will you choose to blend in with the world and go with the crowd or will you choose to take a different road using the Bible as your road map and our Loving Lord as your guide? Will you be set apart from this world and thereby spread His light for other to see the way to Him?

Exodus 34:8-9 (The Message)

At once, Moses fell to the ground and worshiped, saying, "Please, O Master, if you see anything good in me, please Master, travel with us, hard-headed as these people are. Forgive our iniquity and sin. Own us, possess us.