My Hope was Dimmed

“…as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:18

The past couple of months, I have been feeling very drained. Our country , the world for that matter, are on edge. A lot of things that affected me and my family, felt like they were being assaulted or taken away. The unknown was strangling my thoughts.

On Sunday mornings, there are two things I hope to accomplish, going to church and the week’s grocery shopping. I try to go to the grocery store when they open.   There is a cashier named Christian, is always kind and social. One morning, I was especially tired. I felt like I could fall asleep standing up. He noticed.

As I passed through his line, he asked about me and my family. I told him truthfully on why I wasn’t feeling so great. He said he felt the same way. He said, “you hit the nail on the head, people feel terrible because there is no hope.” After I was done, I loaded the groceries and sat in my car. Tears filled my eyes because I know of a greater hope, a living hope in Jesus. Yet, I put my faith in a disturbed government and my financial status be my security. I looked at all the possibility of bad and current bad stuff rule my emotions.

Everyday is a fight to keep our hope alive in Jesus. Too much distracts us in our lives that tries to take its place. No matter the period of time, the state of the government, our current status in our lives…hope must remain alive in Jesus. I have seen people who have nothing and live in basic conditions seem much happier, than those who seem to have everything. One must allow God to reign in our lives and then we will remain hopeful.

Lesson Learned: May we allow the love and steadfast hope of the Living God reign in our lives.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you are the same, yesterday, today and forever. Your hope is alive and for us. Forgive me for putting my hope into things that are of the world. Holy Spirit remind us to keep our thoughts on what is true, noble and pure. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Reset to Zero

“See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:19

 

A fresh start…this should seem and feel wonderful but it is scary.  For newborn babies, we relish at this beautiful start to a new life.  As adults, we feel good with doses of shame and fear.  The thought of starting over is a huge deal, but necessary for one’s life to get better.

 

A friend of mine was talking about the sale of her husband’s condominium.  He had that before they were married.  They currently rent a place closer to the school our kids attend.  She was hoping they could buy instead of rent, with the money they make from the sale of the old condominium.  But before, my friend and her husband were married, someone took advantage of his business and he lost it when the economy went bad.  He has been paying for it ever since.

 

The condominium just sold and any equity from the property would be going to pay off the loans and all the realtor fees.  There is nothing left over for them to put towards a new home.  Obviously, they were both sad about the news.  I said, “I understand that disappointment, but you have reset to zero.  You have no debt any more and he has a great job with benefits now.  Things will turn around from here.”  She agreed.  She said, “as scary as it is to start over now, we are in better shape than lots of people with so much debt.  We will be smart about every decision.”  That is a relief.

 

Today is Easter Sunday.  This is a perfect time, for those who do not know the majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ to have a chance to reset their lives. How great it would be to experience the Risen King and start their lives all over again by knowing the Lord.  Even knowing the Lord for over 30 years, I have had to reset my life over.  The Lord wants us to be forgiven and have a relationship with him.

 

May you encounter God’s love, forgiveness and presence.
Lesson Learned:  The best day is when Jesus gave me the chance to reset and start my relationship with Him.

Don’t Leave out a Welcome Mat for the Enemy

“…And give no opportunity to the devil.”  Ephesians 4:27

 

Most of us know to avoid the outright immoral things in life.  However, the enemy uses little things to catch us off guard.  Those little things open the door to the enemy and we soon see how immorality has crept into our lives.

 

One day, I was walking through the neighborhood and noticed a house had a for sale sign.   My neighborly friend, Monica lived next door to this house.  Monica was walking her dogs and asked if she knew the status for the sale of the house.  She didn’t know, but instead told me about what a relief it was to have the house vacant for a while.  Apparently,  that house had some bad renters.  They had parties until 5 a.m., the other days loud music was played at all hours, and had people living in the house that didn’t belong.  The Sheriff was called many times over the years to that home.

 

I did not think these renters could sound any worse until she said that they had cockroaches.  (Ewww…)  And these cockroaches that were living in that home decided to explore through an unknown hole in the wall and come into her kitchen.  She and her husband patched the hole in the wall and bleached everything in their house.  She said it was a miserable experience that she hopes never happens again.

 

After my walk, I came inside the house to see my daughter walking around while she was eating.  I told her Monica’s story about the cockroaches and how she needs to sit at the table when she eats, so we don’t see those bugs in the house.  My tween daughter (tween=can have an attitude when she talks) says, “well they aren’t hear yet!”  I brought her over to the dining room table and said, “just because they aren’t here, doesn’t mean we want to give them an invitation.”

 

I thought about how I have had that same attitude my daughter had about the cockroaches that I have had towards things in life. What kind of invitation have I given to the enemy?  I have heard conversations amongst co-workers that were filthy or were filled with gossip that I decided to join in on.  Music that had colorful language or degrading lyrics that I listened to because it had a good beat.  Watching t.v. shows that had too much violence, sex scenes or bad language so I didn’t want to feel left out because everyone else was talking about it.   My life needed a good bleaching like my friend’s home.

 

It may not seem like a big deal to watch a t.v. show or listen to some music, but it does over time.  This is the gateway for the enemy to take advantage of to bring more opportunities to sin.

 

The fight is exhausting but it is important to stay vigilant or the sin will take over.  All of this sin takes us farther away from the relationship God wants with us.  The competition is too strong.  Keep in remembrance that God’s will for us is better than anything we think of as fun.

 

Lesson Learned:  God’s narrow path is better and wiser than any wide path the world wants to take you.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for trying to fit into the world.  Convict me when I slip up.  Thank you for your grace and mercy since I am not perfect.  Show me the way you want for me.  Guard my eyes and mind from the tricks of the enemy.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Like a Boss

“In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.” Proverbs 14:23

There are days where I would like everything done for me. Someone to clean the house, fold the laundry, go to work, pick up the kid, walk the dog, fix broken things, cook the meals…everything. That would be fun for a couple of days because I would feel useless after a while.

Many moons ago, I worked for a dental office.  One of my jobs was to collect payments from the patients. Most people were on time and complaint free, but there was always a select few that got dental work done and decided not to pay.

We had a young woman patient that chose the latter option.  She came in for an exam, X-rays and cleaning.  The exam determined that she needed more dental work and gave her the estimate.  I asked for a payment for the services she incurred but told me she didn’t have any money with her.  The dentist, of course, was unhappy and said, she cannot book another appointment until she pays.  After numerous voice messages, we heard nothing for a few weeks.

The young woman came into the office unannounced and asked if she could be seen by the dentist because she was in pain.  I explained we were booked and she could be seen tomorrow but she would have to pay her bill today.  She gave me a nasty look and said, “my boyfriend pays for everything, so you need to deal with him.” Too many thoughts came to mind of what I wanted to say to her.  So I replied, “what is his phone number, let’s call him and he can pay your balance now.”  She said, “never mind” and ran out of the office.  Of course,  she never returned and was sent to collection.

Even if her story was true about her boyfriend paying for everything, I thought what must she do to keep up that charade?  She had cuteness and youth on her side, but after a while, that gets old.  But she will be dumped or live a life as a mooch.  That incident happened, about 15 years ago, when I was still young and cute. So, I knew I didn’t want to ever be like that to my parents or my husband.

I wanted to live a life, where I was financially responsible and able to figure things out on my own.  Yes, I am married and have my husband to take care of things that I am uncertain of being able to accomplish.  Yet, I see some wives trust their husbands to take care of everything.  And when their husbands either leaves or passes on, they find themselves lost.

Recently, God has impressed on my heart to have some courage and figure things out that I usually leave my husband to do. I always want things done yesterday, and my husband likes to let things collect dust before he finishes with it. One of those things is with the maintenance of my car.

I was getting an oil change at the dealer and the service writer told me that my cabin air filter needed to be replaced.  There happened to have that price listed on a board behind him. I saw they wanted $79 for this to be changed so I declined.  The service writer explained the importance of it but I told him I would take care of it myself.  He gave me that look of “you are a woman, so you can’t do it”.  So, that made me want to do it even more.

I drove to the nearest auto parts store and told them what I needed. I figured YouTube or Google would have instructions on what to do. The young man behind the counter asked me if I was doing this myself. I told him yes and this was his reply, “Well you are going to feel like a boss! Good for you! It always feels good to do things yourself.  Plus you are going to save yourself a lot of money.”

I went home and looked up the information on-line. This was the whole procedure: pulled out the glove box, take out the old filter, put in the new one and put the glove box back in. That was it.  Even though it wasn’t some big job like changing my flat tire or the oil, it was still an accomplishment for me since I saved $52.

God instructs us on the importance of work.  Take that step of courage and try to do something yourself. I was happy that I did.

Lesson Learned: You never know how much you have in you until you have to do something by yourself.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, give me the wisdom and tools to work hard. I rebuke laziness and fear that keep me from doing things that are or seem challenging. May I be a good steward of all that you have given me in my life. In Jesus’ Mighty Name, AMEN!”