September 22, 2017

Good Things

Which makes more of an impact on you -- suffering or sweetness? Good things or hard? Which one forces you to your knees? Most of us would probably say suffering. Right? Hard times push us to urgently search His Word, and get more intimate in prayer. But why can't good things do that, too? Why can't blessings cause us to trust Him more, and find His sweet peace? Why can't sweetness help us to abide under the shadow of His wings? Good things are good things. They are gifts from a beneficent God, who loves His creation and wants to bless it bounteously. And we should enjoy those good things! After all, He has personally chosen specific gifts for each one of us. He has personally [...Read More]


Still Giving Thanks?

Thanksgiving's over. But are you still giving thanks? You're probably mired in Christmas shopping, decorating, baking, and who-knows-how-many-other activities. Your kids are clamoring for toys. Your friends are pleading for your time. Your family wants more of you, more of stuff, and just more in general. And it's so easy to get overwhelmed with the rush of the holiday season. It's easy to start grumbling at your never-ending lists and never-full-enough bank account. It's easy to get discouraged and unhappy with what you have -- or perhaps with what you don't have. To feel like there's "never enough" time or resources. To feel like "everything goes wrong" when you most need it to go [...Read More]


Fighting against Boundaries

As I sit writing this, I'm listening to the soundtrack of my dog barking in the back yard. There's currently three neighborhood dogs wandering loose down the street {why their owners don't keep them in their yards, I'll never understand}. And my dog wants to be with them. Those three dogs have all sorts of fun. They play with the kids, run alongside the four-wheelers, and wander around the neighborhood at their own free will. And my puppy doesn't understand why she has to be chained up in our back yard, instead of running and playing with the other dogs. She doesn't realize that, if she were loose, it would be so easy for a car to come careening around the curve and hit her. She doesn't [...Read More]


I Am Wonderfully Made!

Raise your hand if you ever feel like whining or complaining about being sick. *waves hand wildly* I've been dealing with a chronic illness (for which there is treatment but no cure) for about five years now. And lately I've had a whole laundry list of "nuisance" problems to deal with as well. And I haven't felt the slightest bit like being cheerful in the midst of it all. Just ask my husband - I've complained. I've whined. I've felt sorry for myself. Don't we all do that? Whether you're dealing with a long-term illness or something as simple as springtime allergies, isn't it so easy to complain about it? To wonder why God is allowing you to feel so lousy? To be preoccupied and miserably [...Read More]


Responding to Trials

Why do we think life is supposed to be easy? When our actual circumstances differ from our ideal plans and wishes, why do we feel like everything's going wrong? Why do tell ourselves that it's just "one thing after another" and we "can't take much more" of it? Why do we feel so helpless sometimes, like life is spinning out of control like some crazy amusement park ride, so dizzying in its intensity that we feel like we can't hold on much longer? Yeah, I've felt like this. So have you. So has everybody who's ever lived on this earth. But guess what - we don't have to feel out of control and overwhelmed by life. We don't have to feel like we're drowning under the weight of everything, or like [...Read More]


Think on These Things

No matter what major or minor difficulties we as believers find ourselves in, it seems the hardest area of our lives to keep honorable before God is our thought lives. The mind is where so many sinful practices begin - by being unthankful, or fearful, or just plain old self-centered. Once we start thinking a certain way, that way will undoubtedly shine through in our actions. ...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just... For instance, if we start becoming unthankful for what we already have, we will start wanting more than we truly need, and start giving into the temptation to spend more than we should on earthly so-called treasures that will rot and rust and pass away. A [...Read More]


More Thoughts on Contentment

"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds, wherever we go." I came across this quote by Martha Washington today that seemed to go right along with the last few posts I've written. I don't know under what circumstances she penned such thoughts, but they parallel the words of the apostle Paul from thousands of years earlier: "Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how [...Read More]


Certain Unalienable Rights

So much chatter surrounds the topic of "rights." We believe we have the "right" to so many things -- to perpetual comfort, to have things our way, to do whatever we feel like doing whenever we feel like doing it. If we can't sleep at night, we get upset because we think we have a "right" to sleep. If our energies are low and our to-do lists for the day wear us out, we get upset because we believe we have a "right" to good health. If there are bills that can't be paid or comforts that can't be bought when we want them, we get upset since we feel we have a "right" to financial comfort. If a family member or close friend offers instruction or constructive criticism regarding a lifestyle [...Read More]


Theology of a Smile

Yesterday was grocery shopping day. Translation: yesterday was the day hubby & I got to spend 4 quality hours braving one of the busiest roads in the upstate, fighting the fracas of crazy drivers and rude pedestrians, and toiling through the most crowded Walmart in the area as it was undergoing store-wide renovations. Re-translation: yesterday was not a fun day. We were both overtired. Hubby had a late call in the morning that pushed his shift into overtime, giving him about 27 hours of work with only a few hours of dozing. I had slept, but not restfully, and was fighting a stubborn headache that was making me feel nauseous.The first stop at Whole Foods was thankfully quick, and [...Read More]


Like a Puppy

Sometimes I wish I could be more like my puppy. Not the hairy part of her, or the being-on-a-leash part of her. But the part of her that's just content to "be," happy just to sit next to us (although she does sometimes try to jump in our laps). Or like right now, when she's overjoyed with the simple pleasure of a bone to chew on. She doesn't need fancy toys or flavor variety or expensive gadgets to keep her happy. True, she does need to be kept occupied or entertained, but sometimes that's accomplished simply by rubbing her mindlessly with one hand while the other hand is doing something else. She's always happy to see us, even though we put her in the crate or on the chain outside [...Read More]