Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pass the Salt

Smoking. Not the kind that is hazardous to your health. But the kind that involves cooking meat low and slow. Loosely defined, that’s cooking at a low temperature for several hours. A few months ago, my husband, Steve, purchased a Weber smoker because he enjoys all things barbecue. Big on research, Steve had studied out the smoking process and was ready to test out his knowledge on a pork shoulder.

That first pork shoulder couldn’t have been more delicious. My husband had added the perfect combination of spices to create a mouth-watering rub. The smoker had rendered the meat so tender that the pulling process was a breeze. Pulled pork that should have lasted for several days was devoured within two days. The proper combination of tantalizing spices along with the appropriate amount of cook time, yielded the perfect product. We were eager to eat the pork and boy, was it satisfying!

We’re a little like that perfectly seasoned ‘pork shoulder.’ Sounds a bit crazy, right? Maybe not so crazy when you think about it in light of the gospel of Matthew. Jesus challenges us with these words, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted” (Matthew 5:13; KJV)? See the connection?

Just like the affect of the smoke on the meat during the extended cooking time, when we’ve spent time with the Master in Bible study and prayer, our hearts begin to change, the tenderizing process has begun, and we begin to reflect His light and His aroma to those around us. Salt acts as a preservative on meat. When we’re ‘spiced’ by the Truth, we can share the ultimate ‘preservative’ that has the ability to maintain, protect and prevent spiritual decay.

What a precious commodity we’ve been given! Jesus Christ and the truth of His Word. Will I be faithful with what I’ve been given and remain ‘salty’ in order to speak “the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15a)? Or will I keep the ‘salt’ to myself? Christ desires to use me. With the proper combination of spending time with Him and allowing myself to be the saltshaker, others will ultimately be pointed to and satisfied by my loving Heavenly Father. My prayer is to bear the sweet aroma of my Savior and to ‘pass the salt.’ What about you?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Recognize the Symptoms

All the symptoms were there. Headache. Runny nose. Extreme fatigue. The classic cold. I armed myself as if preparing for a fight. I was determined not to give in to this nasty virus. With vitamin C, echinacea, and acai at the ready, I psyched myself up for the battle.

Whenever I feel like I'm coming down with something, I consciously try to eat healthier, get more rest, and just generally take it easy. I eliminate sugar from my diet, and try to eat more vegetables and fruit. I go to bed earlier, and pare down my schedule to include only what has to be done, in order to focus on recuperating.

If I'm fortunate enough to recognize the symptoms of a sickness early on, and make the necessary adjustments, I'm often able to outwit the crafty virus and walk away the victor. Other times, I just ignore the nagging symptoms until it's too late...and I'm in the clutches of a full-blown virus.

Not only does this strategy work when I'm battling those sneaky viruses, but it also allows me to be the victor when temptation comes calling. Do I recognize the tactics of the enemy? If I stay alert and prepare myself properly, I can meet the attack head on, ready against his wiles. It pays to get a peak at his game plan.

Peter gives us the heads up we need, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8; KJV). When I'm sober, I'm characterized by self-control, rather than being out of control. I would be considered 'vigilant,' if I were watchful and alert. My enemy is constantly seeking to derail me. I must be on my guard. What better way to be prepared for battle, than to be intimately acquainted with God's Truth.

When I am wearing the belt of truth, wielding the sword of the Spirit, and holding up the shield of faith, I can defeat any of the fiery darts Satan shoots at me. It's true that by observation, my enemy is aware of my weaknesses. But when I, too, am aware of my weaknesses, I can stock up on the truth in God's word to replace the lies I've believed. I can recognize the difference between a lie and the truth. I am equipped to hold up my shield of faith and put out the enemy's fiery darts of deception.

We all face temptations. Being aware of the schemes of the enemy is important. Perhaps even more important is knowing the truth of God's Word that allows us to refute the lies of Satan. Don't give in to temptation only to find yourself trapped by sin. Allow the Lord to help you. Know your weaknesses, remain watchful and alert, and come out of your next 'battle' victorious!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A New Schedule

Can you remember life before your blog? Blogging has given me the opportunity to express thoughts and feelings through the written word. I've made it a priority to write regularly. Writing has become a passion over the past eight months. I've found myself doing things I never thought I would. Taking classes. Submitting articles. Writing inspirational devotions.

Now it's time to make a difficult decision. As ideas for an inspirational devotion series fill my head, I find myself struggling to find time to write them down. Between classes and blogging three times a week, my WIP (Work In Progress) remains a mere 'hope.' Something I hope to get to someday. Maybe tomorrow.

Life happens, and the tomorrows become todays that quickly fade into yesterdays. The ideas remain. Hoping to rise to the surface. Becoming words on a page.

It's a tough decision. God's Word is a constant guide. The Apostle Paul's words to the Ephesians come to mind, "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling" (1:18; KJV; emphasis mine). I don't want to miss a single thing He has for me.

In order for my dream to become a reality, my blogging schedule will be changing. Beginning this week, I will be posting on Mondays and Thursdays. I appreciate each one of you who stops by! You'll never know what an encouragement your comments have been to me. I covet your prayers as I begin this new writing adventure!

What dreams have you put on hold? Is God nudging you to begin dreaming again? I'd love to hear from you!

*Special thanks to Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought for the "Pursuing Your Dream Award." I'd like to pass this award along to all of my follower friends who are pursuing a writing dream! Seek God's direction, and dream BIG!

Monday, January 18, 2010

His Heartbeat

Flags from numerous countries display bold colors. Unfamiliar designs and symbols give rise to a vast number of questions. How is that particular country different from our own? How do the people make a living? What language do they speak? Table displays boast pictures and items from around the globe. Our church's annual Mission Conference. For several days this week, we will be taking a look at our responsibility to evangelize the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Missionaries from Morocco, China, Latin America, and other regions will present their ministries. Some have been on the field for years, others are just beginning the deputation process. All have a common goal: to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of another country.

Most church members will not find themselves on the foreign field. Financial support may be the easiest way to get involved in world evangelism. Sending others who are willing to go, when we cannot go ourselves. Prayer support is vital. As we pray for the missionaries we support, we begin to care about their needs and take a more active role in their ministry.

Christ's command still stands today, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15; KJV). The heartbeat of our Savior is clearly heard in the familiar words of John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." These words echo in my ears as I contemplate the recent devastation in Haiti. No doubt there were people in that country who did not have the opportunity to hear the gospel. How tragic!

Devastation has a way of putting things into perspective. What is really important? Having a relationship with Jesus Christ. In light of this reality, what can I do to get His glorious gospel to others who have never heard it? I can give, and I can pray, and maybe, just maybe, I can 'go'...

Yesterday, as I listened to the compelling presentations of the missionaries, my eyes went once again to the colorful flags, each representing a different people group. I thought about the flag counter on my site that faithfully records each country my 'readers' represent. The internet is an amazing tool. It's mind-boggling that this one medium has exponentially multiplied the opportunities I have as a devotional writer to reach people in every part of the world.

Over the past seven and a half months, people from thirty-five different countries have visited my blog. I never would have believed it, had I not added the flag counter tool to my site. What an opportunity to share God's Word and point others to Him. Although I can't physically 'go' to each country, my words can 'go' across the internet to other countries and testify to His saving grace.

Have you thought about world evangelism? What is God asking you to do? Can you give? Will you pray? Maybe you can go? Seek Him today!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Eager Anticipation

They emerge from their dog houses when they hear me approach. Sunshine or rain. Regardless of the temperature. The conditions don't matter. Their tails wag in eager anticipation. Our two retrievers never cease to bring a smile to my face.

After a fitful night of sleep, I struggled to wake up this morning. Seeing my daughter off to school, was followed by a leisurely breakfast and time spent in God's Word. I must admit, I was anything but perky. Battling the urge to head up the stairs and climb back into my cozy bed, I opted to don my winter coat, wrap my scarf snugly around my head, pull on my gloves, and head out to feed the dogs.

There they were. Ready to greet me and drive the 'blahs' from my day. They look forward to individual attention. Each of our dogs enjoy being petted and hugged. Precious loves to have her belly rubbed. Joe loves to play ball. It goes without saying that both of them enjoy their food, especially when it includes special treats. Scraps of meat. Or the neighbor's homemade doggy biscuits. After some time spent with our loving pets, I was in a much better frame of mind to tackle the responsibilities of the day.

As I headed back into the house, I couldn't get the image of those wagging tails out of my mind. Incredible enthusiasm. What if I adopt the attitude of my dogs? What if I eagerly anticipate what my Master has for me every day? He assures me that He is accessible all the time. I don't need to make an appointment. "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3; KJV).

Sunshine and rain are as much a part of the weather forecast; as ups and downs are a part of life. Not one of life's circumstances catches my Master by surprise. Whether big or small, He is ever faithful to walk closely by my side. He encourages me to take off the burdens I've been carrying and leave them at His feet. "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7).
Even when life threatens to overwhelm me, His Word is full of help to carry me through. At a particularly difficult time in David's life he cried out to God, "Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. from the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah" (Psalms 61:1-4).

May I run with eager anticipation to my Master no matter the 'weather' or 'temperature' of life. He is always there to give me exactly what I need. All the loving attention. "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee" (Jeremiah 31:3b). And along with the nourishing 'food' of His Word, He oftentimes mixes in 'goodies.' Those 'delicious' things that go so far beyond my wildest expectations! He IS able to do, "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20).

Are you eagerly anticipating what the Master has for you? He alone, has everything you need. Let Him encourage your heart, today!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Lifetime of Practice

The music is beautiful. Her fingers move effortlessly over the black and white keys. She's practiced for years and it shows. There were times over the years that she wanted to quit. But we encouraged her to persevere. Piano lessons and countless hours of practice have made the difference.

Tackling an instrument is challenging. It takes a willingness to learn from the teacher. It takes discipline. It takes practice. And more practice. Hours of practice. Years of practice. Our daughter, Riley, has been able to use her talent to accompany school and church choirs, in addition to playing for our families' personal enjoyment.

There's an unmistakable similarity between the musician and the child of God. I have to be willing to learn from the Master. He bids me to humble myself before Him, "Submit yourselves therefore to God" (James 4:7a; KJV). An attitude of humility is pleasing to Him. "...God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble" (James 4:6b). It is when I'm aware that I don't know it all that I'm in the perfect position to learn.

Discipline is required. Oh, the lessons He desires to teach me, if I stay pliable in His hands. "But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand" (Isaiah 64:8). Discipline to stay in the Potter's hand rather than jumping down. Discipline to stay in His hand with my eyes focused on His, refusing to look at all the other lovely vessels He's crafted. Discipline to allow Him to lovingly mold me into the shape of His choosing, rather than suggest to Him the type of vessel I should be.

Christ speaks to the level of discipline required of the child of God. "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23). For the serious musician, other pursuits have to take a back seat. The same is true of Christians. Am I denying myself? Am I daily taking up the cross He has for me? Am I following Him closely? What is my top priority? My agenda or His? All questions that help to determine how disciplined I am.

Practice, practice, practice. I'm thankful that our Heavenly Father graciously gives us a lifetime of practice. He knows our "frame; he remembereth that we are dust" (Psalm 103:14). He is the ultimate encourager. "Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest" (Joshua 1:9). He forgives us when we fail. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). He graciously allows us to start over. "And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more" (John 8:11).

Ultimately, our lifetime of practice will end in perfect 'music' in heaven. Until then, stay humbly submitted to the Master and continue to practice. Your 'music' will be 'heard' by others. May the sweet sounds of a life lived for Christ, lead others to Him!

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Clothes

The chilling hand of the deep freeze has left its unmistakable fingerprints on the South. The past few days we've had to contend with daytime temperatures well below 32 degrees, not to mention snow and ice. One of the compelling reasons to move to Georgia, was the balmy weather. Anything but balmy now! With after-Christmas sales in full swing and the weather offering us a not-so-gentle reminder that our daughter, Riley, will be off to a northern college in the fall, we braved the cold and headed to the mall to buy her some 'real' winter clothes.

Boots. Real boots, not fashion boots. The kind with low heels and a lining of fur, were high on the list. Long sleeve tops and warm sweaters also made the list. I can't say I understand today's teen fashion trends. Through careful observation, I've noticed that the majority of girls wear their shoes without socks of any kind. Shocking to a Mom who searches out both socks and slippers before emerging from her bedroom! And that's all in the comfort of my home. I can't imagine leaving the house without socks! Fortunately, Riley agreed that tights just might be handy for a girl attending college in the frigid North.

I wouldn't have dreamed that even my husband, Steve, would get in on the shopping scene. After some serious Mom and daughter shopping time, Steve called me to let me know that Land's End had a good sale on winter clothes. Say no more. We were on our way. The most memorable moments were when Steve chose some clothes for Riley and she actually liked them! My man never ceases to amaze me! Several hours and a few shopping bags later, we labeled our shopping trip a 'success.'

Wearing the right clothing for each season is important. Wearing the right spiritual clothing is even more important. As a 'new creature' in Christ, I have a whole new wardrobe at my disposal. With His power, I have the ability to 'put off' the clothes of the 'old nature.' Paul wrote to the Colossians about the new 'clothes' they were to wear, "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness" (Colossians 3:12-14; KJV).

Selfishness can be taken off, and compassion for others can be worn. Looking to God's Word and Christ's example will help us to see what this looks like. "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). When we see those who don't know Christ, do we take the time to introduce them to our Savior? Are we available to bear someone else's burdens?

Self-focus can be traded in for God-focus. Realizing that it's all about Him and not about us, goes a long way toward helping us take off this constrictive piece of 'clothing.' Psalm 100 serves as a good reminder: "Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture" (100:3). When we're appropriately clothed, we can say with the prophet Isaiah, "But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand" (Isaiah 64:8).

We can replace lack of control with strength under control. We are told, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10:16).

We can shed impatience for a confident trust and reliance on God and His timetable. Proverbs 3:5-6 shares the timeless wisdom of Solomon, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

Every day we have a decision. Will we put on the 'new' clothes Christ has purchased for us? Or will we drag out the old clothes, that perhaps are more familiar to us? My prayer is to be clothed with the brand new wardrobe of Christ! What clothes will you choose?

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Divine 'Adjustment'

Subluxations. Thermography. Adjustments. Terms familiar to the doctor of chiropractic. Following a minor car accident in which I sustained some soft tissue injuries to my back, my general practitioner gave me muscle relaxers and pain medication. When this treatment failed to alleviate my symptoms, several of my friends suggested going to a chiropractor. I have to admit that I was a bit leery.

The chiropractor was very knowledgeable, and spent time explaining what he saw on my x-rays, and the course of treatment he would pursue. When I began treatment, I needed several adjustments which meant multiple trips to his office the first few weeks. As the adjustments began lining things up as they should be, I didn't need to be seen as often. Periodic reevaluation let the chiropractor know when I was ready to be put on a maintenance program, only needing adjustments twice a month.

Having one adjustment was not a cure-all. Although the initial injury I went to the chiropractor to fix, is a thing of the past, the things I do in everyday life often cause more subluxations to occur. According to my chiropractor, a subluxation is "when one or more of the bones of your spine (vertebrae) move out of position and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves. Spinal nerves are the nerves that come out from between each of the bones in your spine. This pressure or irritation on the nerves then causes those nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves" ( He explains how subluxations affect you, "Your nervous system controls and coordinates all the functions of your body. If you interfere with the signals traveling over nerves, parts of your body will not get the proper nerve messages and will not be able to function at 100% of their innate abilities. In other words, some part of your body will not be working properly."

Wow! In addition to physical subluxations, I often suffer with spiritual subluxations. Those times when I decide to lean on my own understanding and move off the path God has for me. This creates pressure in my spirit - my old nature fights with my new nature. Paul gives an accurate word-picture in the book of Romans, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do" (Romans 7:18-19; KJV). He goes on to say, "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 7:22-25a).

My hope lies in my Heavenly 'chiropractor', who is able to make the necessary 'adjustments' in my life when I keep my 'appointments' with Him. His Word is "quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). As I keep my daily 'appointment' with Him, praying and reading His Word, I become aware of those areas where I have not been obedient to Him. I can choose to agree with Him, submit to His 'adjustment,' by repenting of my sin, and once again function with His power flowing through me.

Some days I need more 'adjustments' than others. The beautiful thing is that the Heavenly 'chiropractor' is always 'in.' His 'office' is never closed. He never takes a vacation. In fact, He bids us to "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16).

Struggling with sin's 'subluxations' in your life? Make an 'appointment' with your Heavenly 'chiropractor' and yield to the 'adjustments' that will allow you to function at 100% of the ability He's given you!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Seed of Faith

Two male spies with a plan, one woman with information. Two men on a mission. One woman with a bad reputation. Two men doing the work of the Lord. One woman labeled as a harlot. Who could imagine that their paths would cross? Yet the spies entered her city and ended up at her house.

The time? Early 1400's B.C. The place? Jericho. The woman? Rahab. The people of her city were in turmoil because of the news they had heard. When the two spies showed up at her house, Rehab was honest with them, "I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you" (Joshua 2:9-11a; KJV).

Sometime between hearing the city news and the arrival of the spies, a seed of faith sprang up in Rahab's heart. She believed the stories about this God's power. She was afraid that her city would be destroyed next. The God of the Israelites was someone to be reckoned with. She acknowledged her belief that He was God (Joshua 2:11b).

When the sound of an authoritative knock came at the door, Rahab had a choice to make. Should she turn the spies in, or hide them? With heart hammering in her chest, Rahab acted on her growing seed of faith. Carefully concealed under the flax on her rooftop, the spies heard her tell the king's men that her visitors had left before the city gate had been shut. (Joshua 2:5).

A covenant was made. Since she had saved their lives, they would spare the lives of she and her family members before the Israelites destroyed her city of Jericho. The spoken oath was sealed with a sign. A scarlet cord. The spies told Rahab to bind the same scarlet cord that would allow them to escape to safety, in her window. "Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all they father's household, home unto thee" (Joshua 2:18).

The spies were true to their word. "And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and thy brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel" (Joshua 6:23). What began as a seed of faith was continuing to grow.

Rahab. The woman we're introduced to in the book of Joshua who has a bad reputation is nowhere to be found once she acknowledges her belief in the God of the Israelites. We meet up with her again in the book of Matthew. No mention is made of her past. She is recognized as the wife of Salmon, no doubt a dashingly handsome Israelite, whose son just happens to be Boaz (Matthew 1:5). That's right! The mighty kinsman redeemer of the book of Ruth.

Think about it! A former harlot ends up in the genealogy of Jesus Christ! After all, Boaz and Ruth have a son, Obed, Obed and his wife have Jesse, Jesse and his wife have David, and fourteen generations later, our Savior is born!

It never ceases to amaze me what God can do with a man or woman with a seed of faith and a spirit yielded to Him! What's your 'faith' story? I'd love to hear it!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cherish Every Moment

Although the descent down the hill lasted less than a minute, it could only be described as exhilarating! Sledding. Something I haven't done in more years than I care to remember. With cooler temperatures, some strategically placed snow machines, and twelve tubing lanes, the lawn at Stone Mountain ( was magically transformed into Snow Mountain (

A great day to make a memory as a family. This day happened to be extra-special as my Mom was able to join in on the fun. Arriving from Michigan earlier in the week, we convinced her to tackle the mountain of snow with us.

As we waited in line to enter the tubing area, we admired one another's snow gear: boots, hats, heavy coats and gloves. The brisk wind had convinced us that each of these items was a necessity. The clock read 7:00 p.m. when we entered the gates and were instructed to select a tube. We would be able to sled for two hours. With tube in hand, we stepped onto the conveyor belt that pulled us to the top of the hill. We stepped off of the belt and were ushered into a long line of people that snaked back and forth several times before heading up a ramp to the sledding area. Once in tubing territory, a friendly worker guided us to the next open lane.

Seated comfortably on the tube, having listened carefully to all of the instructions, the only thing that remained was the purposeful push that would send my tube speeding down the hill toward the finish line. With eager anticipation, I clung to the handles of my tube as I bounced and careened forward. I slid to a stop at the base of the hill, laughing out loud. I was transported back to my childhood, when my brother and I would spend hours sledding down the hill in our back yard until our fingers and toes couldn't take the cold a moment longer. We'd build ramps out of snow and have contests to see who could jump the farthest...Fun times! Back to the present.

As soon as everyone in our group had zipped down the hill, we took our places in line once again, dragging our ever faithful tubes behind us. Even though we ended up waiting in line about 20 minutes for every one run down the hill, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. It was a blast!

Life is a lot like the sledding experience. Most of our time may be spent just 'standing in line,' so to speak - doing those routine things that don't seem to amount to much. We're constantly looking ahead in anticipation of those things that will 'Wow' us: graduating from high school, getting that first big job, finding the right life partner, buying the first house, having children, and the list goes on.

As we stood in line waiting for our next opportunity to slide down the hill on our tubes, I realized that the entire experience was worth cherishing. Not only the exhilarating seconds flying down the hill, but also the time spent waiting in line. It was the time spent waiting in line that provided us with the opportunity to talk to one another and make precious memories that will last a lifetime.

Every moment we're given in life should be cherished as well. James, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gave us excellent advice, "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (James 4:14, KJV). While it's wise to plan for the future, don't forget to live in the now. View each moment as an opportunity to live for the Lord. Solomon penned the following words in the book of Ecclesiastes, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest" (9:10).

With the beginning of a brand new year, I'm focused on making the most of the time the Lord allows me and cherishing each moment! How about you?

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Fresh Start

January 1, 2010. A brand new year. A new beginning. A fresh start. Although I may not have reached all of my goals for 2009, I’m encouraged by a line spoken by Miss Stacey from the movie, Anne of Green Gables, “Every day is fresh with no mistakes!” How true.

An unexpected snowfall a couple days ago left the landscape blanketed in unspotted white. A glorious reminder of the prophet Isaiah’s words, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). As this new year unfolds, I’m thankful for a merciful God who is the God of the second chance. And the third. And the fourth. As a child of the King, I am a new creature, “…old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17b; KJV). How freeing to know that His forgiveness wipes my slate clean, keeping no record of past sins. Once again I am whiter than snow. Praise God for His grace!

How exciting to serve a God who renews my hope. “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23).

As I contemplate goals for each area of my life, my heart’s desire is to live in the will of God. My prayer echoes that of the Apostle Paul, that the eyes of my understanding would be enlightened, and that I may know what is the hope of his calling (Ephesians 1:18). I know He has a plan for me, yet it remains His ‘hope’ that I’ll fulfill it. He won’t force me to fulfill the plan He has for me, I must diligently pursue it, one day at a time. Oh, that I will reach the goals that He has for me!

His word calls each one of us to, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). May this new year be filled with His presence and His definition of success: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8).

What goals have you set this year? Don’t give in to defeat if you fall short, remember that God is just waiting to help you up, dust you off, and set you back on His path. Seek God’s will in every area of your life for a truly prosperous and successful new year! God bless!