Train Wrecks

God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10 ( CSB)

“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. “

Ephesians 6:10-11 ( CSB)

We Slow Down and Look

Image result for picture of slowing down to look at accident in traffic

Since Jim and I live a distance from both sides of the family, we are on the road quite a bit to see our family.  There are times when we are traveling and get stopped in traffic. We are curious as to what the hold up is ahead of us only to find as we began to move that there is an accident sometimes minor and sometimes severe. Despite that all parties involved are moved to the side of the road with guidance from authorities for people to move over to the next lane, people still feel inclined to slow down and look to see what has happened.  The best case scenario would be for people to keep their eyes looking ahead and moving on instead of slowing down to look.

Are We Really Seeing What We Are Seeing?  Seriously?

Image result for picture of shaking our heads in disbelief

Then there is the scenario where one or the other has been channel surfing and something comes up and we can’t believe what  we are seeing on the screen. You will hear one or the other stating, “really, this is on television and no less prime time television?!” Yet, there is that human  tendency to just watch a few minutes  to be sure we are seeing what we are seeing on the screen.

Yet, there have been times when one or the other has put something into the ‘Google Search’ or ‘YouTube’ search innocently searching for information on a topic.  On Google, different links will come up and these links can be misleading and the answer we think we are going to get is actually a link that can embarrass us  from the inside out! Or, we can be searching for something on YouTube and what we are looking for does not come up but something totally against our morals appears  on our  screen and if auto play is turned on…well, it begins to play.  Our  church going grandmothers would not only roll over in their graves several times but would probably come out of their  graves if they  saw what had come up on our screens.

Train Wrecks

Image result for picture of a train wreck

When these scenarios take place our human tendency is to stop and watch for a second because we cannot believe what we are seeing and don’t want to see it, but we just can’t stop looking. Jim and I call these situations train wrecks. We don’t want to look, but we still stop for that moment trying to comprehend what we are seeing at that moment. We will question who would even think of putting something like that out there for  people to see? ….and, these days we shake our heads because we know that what is on that screen may be seen by some innocent child.  Worse still, they may see what is on that screen and they may not have  the guidance at home that would allow them to discern the folly that unfolds before them.

Distracting Our Hearts

Image result for picture of the enemy distracting our hearts

These so-called train wrecks are the Enemy’s way of trying to distract our hearts and focus on God and His purpose for our lives. It is the goal of the Enemy to not only distract us from God but to hook us into these distractions intended to entangle us and pull us down a slippery slope of sin. It is a life God did not intend for us to live. It is in these moments of staring at these train wrecks where we have a choice.   We can consent to viewing the content intended to derail us, or we can be directed down the track ahead of us. This track is intended to keep our eyes on Jesus.

A Clean Heart

Image result for picture of God giving us a clean heart

As I read Psalm 51:10 this morning, it made me think of the train wrecks I have come across in my lifetime and the train wrecks people are exposed to on a daily basis.  Ephesians 6:10-20 also comes to mind.  In order for us to keep our hearts clean before God, we have to start each day by putting on the Armor of God. By doing so we are empowered to stand against the Enemy.  When those accidents happen as we travel we know to look straight ahead and move forward. As we move forward, we should pray for those involved in whatever incident that has taken place to slow traffic down.

Armor Up

Image result for picture of armorning up for God

It is when we armor up in the Word of God we can look at these distractions on YouTube, Facebook or whatever means of social media that come up, and we can tell the Enemy, “not today.”  We are empowered to stand toe to toe with the Enemy in Jesus’ name to tell him that he will not hook us into a slippery slope but we will stay the course that God has set before us. Yet, when those incidents happen while on-line and/or channel surfing may  it be a reminder of those who are lost in this world and say a prayer for those who are lost. It is our responsibility as Believers to pray for the lost and their salvation.

Forgiveness

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Maybe you are someone who has paused at  one of these train wrecks. The Enemy hooked you into a slippery slope that you feel there is no getting back on track. You feel that you are standing on the side of the road in the debris of that one moment; that one click.  I am here to tell you that you have hope. This hope is in God who is your Father. (We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. Hebrews 6:19 NIV ).  He loves you. Your Father extends his hands out to you offering you grace, and mercy. 1 John 1:9 says this; “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” ( NIV)  On the sidebar of this blog site is a video about the gift of salvation that I encourage you to view if you are searching for answers. Today is the day to ask God to give you a clean heart and seek the plans God has for you. ( For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

 

Prayer

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Father God,

Thank you for this day that You give us and for the blessings You have planned for us. You are a faithful and loving God.  You love us so much that You sent Your only Son to die for our sins so that we may have life eternal with You. ( John 3:16)

Today, we come before You ready to surrender ALL to You. We surrender all of our sins, the slippery slopes the Enemy has attempted to or has drawn us to in days past. At this moment, we ask for You to cover us with Your grace and mercy.  Create in us clean hearts and as our hearts are cleansed may we feel Your mighty power and spirit fill us from within until it is overflowing onto those we encounter throughout the day.

You tell us not be of the world but to be in the world. When the Enemy attempts to distract us and pull us into the world, may we be armored up in Your Word and Truth. May our eyes stay focused on Your Son, Jesus and the plans You have for us.

Father, today, I pray for those who are lost. For the one who is reading this searching for answers, I pray that You will place someone in their path today who will extend the love of Christ to them. May they totally surrender all to You and seek to have a clean heart and live for You.

Father, You are just that….Our Father. You care deeply about all that we do and see everyday. May what we do bring You all glory and honor. May the mistakes, mis-steps we take be turned into a message of testimony that will bring You glory. Thank you for all the blessings You have given us and the blessings You have planned for us that we have yet received.

We love You and ask You to walk with us as we journey through this world until it is time for us to be home with You.

In Jesus Name

Amen

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Encouraging Others

Encouraging Others

 

High Fiving The Crazy Ones

As I have become introduced to the world of social media via Drew,  I have learned more about what it means to encourage others.  In the world of Twitter, it is good that you respond on some tweets and  read blogs that are posted via Twitter. On Facebook, we know that we encourage our friends by clicking the “Like”, leaving a comment or writing on their wall.  Then, there is the blogging as I do and that means that you not only write but you read and encourage others in their writing in the blogging world. You encourage fellow bloggers not only by reading their site but commenting and sharing as well. It is all about encouragement and staying connected.  I experienced such cyber encouragement via Branchingbecky’s Blog when she mentioned one of my blogs on her site. “Wow!”,  I thought to myself, “I am actually going beyond my walls!.” Needless to say, it made my day!

Encouragement and staying connected is all a part of what God wants us to do in the world He created.  It is important to stay  connected with Him so that we can connect with others and encourage them.  We connect with God through our prayer, worship, quiet time with Him and joining Him in His work through acts of encouragement.  Listening to God and responding by encouraging others comes full circle into our social media world.  It is through TwitterFacebook,  and Email that we can encourage others.  We can also go outside our social media world and encourage others through writing notes and/or simply encouraging someone in person that God places in our path.

Words of encouragement are gold to the heart.  We are all in this big world together with each of us having our daily challenges before us. Thus, it is important for us to encourage one another on the journey.

Today, I challenge you to encourage someone whether it be through Facebook, Twitter, Email, writing a note, leaving a comment or simply encouraging someone in person.  It is by my experience that when you encourage someone, you not only give them a lift but you will feel a lift in your heart, too. Hebrews 3:13 says we need to encourage one another on a daily basis. How about you? Who do you need to encourage? Who sent you encouragement your way that lifted your spirits? Make encouragement a part of your daily routine.

Blessings-

Hooked On Pinterest

Red Pinterest logo

Red Pinterest logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pinterest is the latest addiction in the social media world. Since my son, Drew works in marketing in the social media world, I knew it would not be long before I would be on Pinterest.  My boards include What I Like, Places I Like, Recipes, Dreams to things that will be only dreams. 

Pinterest is a place for friends, family and strangers to share what they like, their values and sometimes their hopes and dreams. As I started pinning, I have seen things from inspiration to things that need to be reported. My eyes have been opened to what people value and how we may tend to look to the material world for happiness. It has opened my own eyes and heart to evaluate what is important in my personal life.

Now, I am not knocking down Pinterest. I see value in the boards when it comes to gathering ideas for gift giving, for finding tips in making life more organized, sharing the gospel among other helpful information. My concern is of where we are, as a society, placing our hopes. Are we pinning things that we hope will make us happy? Or, do we place our hope in our Creator?

Yes, I enjoy sharing and pinning on Pinterest. But, as I pin, I know that all the pins of things that amaze me, items I like, or recipes to try, that my main pin must be on God. In other words, I must pin my hopes on God. God has a purpose for me just as he has a purpose for you.

What are you pinning? Are you looking for these pins to bring you joy and hope? If you haven’t already, pin your hopes on God and then experience how he will open your eyes and heart to see what is truly important in life. After all, there is no doubt in my mind that if God had a Pinterest account, he would definitely have you and me pinned on his board.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.

Psalm 16:2-4

Unplugging To Charge Up


Unplugging To Charge Up

Posted on January 21, 2011

Social Media Outposts

Twenty years ago I would not have thought that I would be re connecting with old friends, connecting with new ones, and talking to someone via internet.  Now, every turn there is another app, advancement or way to stay in touch with people. It never fails that when I am out and about that I will see one or more persons on their phones either texting, checking Facebook or having a phone conversation. It has basically become the norm for our culture these days.

Now, don’t get me wrong and think I have a real issue with our modern technology.  I think that it is great that we have these many ways to communicate with one another and to conduct business.  However, it is so easy to get caught up in the technology world to the point we tend to run on overload at times.  Thus, when we hit the overload mode, we forget about the simple life God had intended for us.

From time to time, you may not see me on twitter, Facebook or hear back from me on email.  Although you are not seeing me in these social media facets, don’t think that I have forgotten you.  I like to unplug myself from the fast pace media world and just simply take in the life God wants me to enjoy.

When I unplug myself from the technology world, I usually enjoy one on one conversations with family and friends, enjoy the quiet of the house. I also get caught up on the home front and all that I missed because I got absorbed in the social media world.  Yet,  one of the things I enjoy the most of being unplugged is just spending some extra quality time with God.

Although I may be unplugged from the social media world, I intentionally plug into God and His world. By plugging into God, I am getting charged up.  It is through this charging process of time with God and family,  I see the more simple things of life.  These simple things of life I enjoy are such things  as the birds singing, our dog  playing darts with Jim (maybe a little comic relief there as well) , I am reminded of why God created each one of us.

God created us to enjoy the birds He made to serenade us, to enjoy the scenery around us, enjoy our family, enjoy the comical things our family members may do or perform, and simply be surrounded by Him.  God didn’t create us to be plugged in all the time as we unfortunately are and to run weary and stressed.  You see,  no matter how plugged in to the world we are, the more we tend to unplug ourselves from God and the world He created for us.  Thus, the result is we feel stressed and overwhelmed.

My challenge for you is to take a day or two and unplug from the  social media world and plug into God and the world He created for you.  If you absolutely can’t unplug for a day, try unplugging for a few hours.   Romans 12:2 sums it up quite well; Do not conform any longer to the pattern  of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  My prayer for you is that as you unplug from man’s world and you plug-in to God’s world that you will be refreshed and renewed.

I am taking a brief hiatus to renew the mind, spirit and body. During this time, I look forward to capturing  family time, and gathering new thoughts to share from Thoughts From The Porch.   There are a couple of new thoughts already  in process on my draft board. Be on the look out, thoughts of God’s love and  encouragement will return soon!

Blessings

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We Don’t Talk Anymore

Does the above picture look too familiar? How many of us are guilty of being out with family and/or friends and instead of visiting with them, we are busy with our phone? To me, I feel as though the art of conversation is becoming more and more obsolete as Social Media continues to grow. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do see the advantages of Social Medial. Social Media has connected and re-connected us with family and friends. It is a tool for people like me to share thoughts of encouragement and share the story of Christ. But, there comes a time when enough is enough.

When you look at days gone by, there is the remembrance of siblings fighting over the phone in the evening, conversations at the dinner  table and/or in the family room. And, how many of us grew up in families where there were evenings of story telling or learning about our family tree through conversation?  Even in Jesus’ lifetime, there was always conversation. He was the greatest story-teller that ever walked the earth. Not only did He tell stories, but He took time to hear the stories of others and their needs.

Nowadays, people can sit in the same room or at the same table, but they are not talking face to face. They are text messaging the person on the other side of the room or someone who is not even there. We are re-connecting with people but are we really connecting? Are we investing honest interest in a person and really hearing their story?

The other day, I received the following in an e-mail that really sums up with then and now. This piece shares about a stranger coming into the home. It is not just text messaging, Facebook and possibly tweeting that is taking away time of conversation but it is also other forms of Social Media. As you read it, think about the days gone by and how things are in today’s world.  How has Social Media influenced your lifestyle?

The Stranger

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our
small 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 long time 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.’

(Note: This should be required reading for every household!)

He has a wife now….we call her ‘Computer.’
Their first child is “Cell Phone”.
Second child “I Pod

This says it all doesn’t it? We are in the midst of Holy Week. This is a week of reflecting on the life of Jesus and the ultimate sacrifice He made on our behalf. Easter Sunday symbolizes new life and new beginnings.  This week in the midst of celebrating the newness we receive in Christ,  let us make take a new to be aware of those who are around us. In other words,  put the phones down. If we are to live as Christ, we need to take time as He did and be aware of those around us and their needs. It is in these personal encounters where we experience fellowship with one another and with God. We were designed to be in fellowship with one another and as Christians commissioned to witness to those around us.

Beginning this week, I encourage you to  write a personal note and send it snail mail, give that friend that is struggling a phone call or even  a visi. When you are out with family and friends, turn the cell phone off. Let those you are with know that they are important and what they have to say is important.There is nothing in this world of ours that is so important that we need to forfeit hearing what the person or persons we are with have to say and enjoy the fellowship of the moment.  After all,  there is no mention of cell phone, text messaging, Facebook, or other forms of Social Medial in heaven. What we are told that there is great fellowship with one another which I interpret to mean we will talk face to face.

enjoy your family

It seems like we don’t talk anymore, so let’s start talking!

Messengers

Telegram Messenger….how delivering a message has changed!

God’s messengers played an important role announcing Christ’s birth. Gabriel appeared before Mary to tell her that she was the chosen one to carry and give birth to the Christ child. Then on the night of Christ’s birth, the angel stood before the shepherds and  announced  the wonderful birth of Christ.

A few days ago, I received the following video in my News Feed on Facebook. It is a video describing what the announcement and birth of Christ may have been liked if shared on Facebook.

Yes, Social Media is a big and booming thing in the world today.  Through Twitter, Facebook, Email, Google, and countless others means of Social Media, word about anything good or bad can be seen by many all over the world. Through Social Media, God is using earthly messages to continue to get the word out about his only Son.  It has been through Twitter, Blog Sites and Email that I have received countless stories of witnessing of Christ at work in people’s lives, and in the world. Social Media has enabled us to share and spread the Good News all the more.

Today, I challenge you to be a messenger of hope, peace, love and in sharing the Good News of Christ’s birth. As you post statuses on Facebook, share what Christ has done for you through the year.  Through your emails remind those receiving the email of Christ and His love for them. Tweet  a message of hope letting your followers know that the one true person to follow is Jesus Christ.

Our world has changed in regards of the way we get information out to the world. God  has his heavenly messengers but he also has his earthly messengers. Won’t you be one of his earthly messengers?  The means of getting the Good News out may be more advanced but the message of Jesus Christ remains the same.

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

‘Glory to God in the highest,

And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’

    Matthew 2:13-14

Christmas Blessings

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He Wiped Our Walls Clean

Hallelujah! He Has Wiped Our Walls Clean!

 

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Whew! What a week! It has been a week of all thumbs, two left feet, list on top of list to-do and Murphy’s Law! As I experienced left feet, thumbs, Murphy’s Law and worked my way through the list, I reminded myself to practice what I preach and to SMILE just as I had encouraged my readers in my blog Smile. Then, just as I had thought I had smiled my way through it all the point of my wits end, I decided to try taking a few things off my Facebook Wall.

While going through old posts on my Wall, I thought I had hit Remove Post, when, in fact, I had deleted my entire Wall! “Yikes!” I said to myself as I tried to recover what I had done. Then, I realized that there was no undoing what I had done. All was gone and there sat a clean and blank Wall.  Upset at my mishap, I called my son Drew, the Social Media guru who, in my eyes, can fix anything when it comes to a social media uh-oh’s.  Drew did give it a try to undo what I had done but this is one time I had him stumped and his reply was ‘I don’t know what you did but don’t do it again! I’m stumped!” My reply to him was ‘yes sir!’

After learning that I had made it impossible for some posts to re-appear on my wall, I was upset. Being the compulsive person I am, I kept trying to retrieve what had been hidden. Yet, no matter what I did, nothing worked.  While getting frustrated with myself and taking it out on the computer, this post came to me. I had been experiencing a little writer’s block.

Sitting there staring at my clean Wall, I realized God was teaching and reinforcing another lesson for me. The lesson was that I had cleaned up my Wall and there was no going back, no retrieving what I had done on former days, and all I could do was move on and start at where I was at that given moment.

My Wall being wiped clean was a symbol of how God’s forgiveness works in our lives.  When we ask for forgiveness, He wipes our slate clean and there is no going back with Him and no retrieving what was done.  It is through Christ’s forgiveness that we are to leave behind what has happened and move forward in our faith journey.  Our slates have been wiped clean.

Yet, Satan likes to push our buttons. It frustrates him to no end when we put the past behind and move forward in our faith journey. That is one of his greatest weapons to our souls.  He wants us to try to go back and retrieve those things God has wiped clean. Satan wants to drudge up those old thoughts and feelings of guilt. When this happens, we have a choice. The choice is either to be like me sitting there trying to unhide what had been hidden on my wall or to accept that the Wall has been wiped clean which means a new beginning.

Tomorrow, we celebrate the Risen Saviour. It is this past week of Holy Week and tomorrow that reminds us of God’s wonderful grace. We are reminded that it is through Christ’s sacrifice that we are forgiven. Our slate is wiped clean.  There is no need to go back and retrieve what was done yesterday.

God knows all too well that the incidents of this week thoroughly iced my cake. Through these trials, however, He also showed me that through my attentiveness to Him and to His voice, in ALL things there are opportunities to make my faith stronger. Thus, my writer’s block was no more and I was able to move on.

Easter Sunday is tomorrow. As you celebrate the Risen Christ, realize that through His death and ressurection that your are forgiven. There is no need to sit there and allow Satan to succeed in undoing what Christ has done. Furthermore, stay in constant communication with God, because you just never know. There may come a time when you have had a week of two left feet, all thumbs, list on top of list to accomplish, Murphy’s Law, and then the least little thing to ice your cake. It is in those moments when God has a lesson that He wants us to learn or reinforce.

So, how clean is your Wall? Have you allowed Him to wipe it totally clean or are you allowing Satan to encourage you to try to undo what God has done for you?  In the midst of all chaos, have you heard the voice of God remind you of His grace? Remember Philippians 3:13 Brother’s I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting  what is behind and straining forward toward what is ahead.”

I wish each and everyone a blessed Easter and many clean Walls!

Peace