The Bottom Line

March 31, 2011 § 2 Comments

Wars, rumors of wars.
Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan.
Earthquakes.
Japan, Australia, Haiti.
Chaos. Uproar.
People wounded, dead, dying, struggling to survive.
Shattered dreams.
Longings unfulfilled, dreams broken, hopes dashed.
Daily things.
Screaming children, spilling coffee, traffic jam, late again.
Tragedies.
Children sick, mothers dying suddenly, random violence, missing people.
Bottom line.
God knows, God loves, God cares, God controls, God allows, God shapes,
God plans, God is able, God knows best, I don’t understand, but God does.

Jehovah Jireh, God Provides: Why Do I Doubt?

March 30, 2011 § 4 Comments

My pulse quickens and my mouth goes dry. I take a deep breath because I know I cannot trust my first response. I need to pray as I gather my breath, I need words to say, I need to not say what my heart is screaming.

My heart is twisting itself into knots, arching it’s back, and throwing a terrific fit. I don’t even want to consider options. I don’t want things to change and I don’t want to move. I like it here. I like our lifestyle. Why do we need to “think about options.” UGH!!!! I don’t want options, I want things to stay the same. We can clamp down, budget, make lifestyle changes. Just not too many and only ones I think are good.

God has always taken care of us before, so why wouldn’t He do it now? Oh, but the question still lingers…What if…

I have always thought of myself as sure of  God’s provision. I trust that He will give us what we need. We are wise with our money. There is no reason to doubt God. Even Jesus tells us if He takes care of the lilies then why worry. (Matt 6) Most often I don’t.

Until the way God chooses to provide, the amount He chooses to provide, or even the where God chooses to provide changes. It is in that moment that my heart skips beats. It is there that my true colors show. I am a MESS. I don’t trust God, I trust “the way things are.”Ouch, I trust my circumstances to remain unchanged more than I trust God’s ordained bends in the road. Have you been there?

Can we really be like Abraham when God asked him to offer his son on the altar and say, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Gen 22:8

Can we leave our hopes, dreams, plans, comfort on the altar trusting that God will provide regardless if He burns our offering to the ground?

Can we trust God’s provision for our hopes, dreams, finances even when He gives us unemployment, a drop in pay, or an unwanted move?

Simply yes. It takes dying to what we want and as trusting as Abraham did that God will provide.

Has God provided for you through an unexpected bend in the road? Have you seen God’s miraculous provision? Please share. I can’t wait to hear what He is doing for you.

My Not-So-Spiritual SIGH!

March 29, 2011 § 2 Comments

I got behind. Out of routine, out of time, out of sync.

Behind in my Chronological Bible reading. I needed to read half of the March 27th reading and all of March 28th reading on March 28th.

Reading the Bible in chronological order means I am in the Old Testament and will be for most of the year. The Old Testament is filled with genealogies, lists of names, strange geographical locations, and extensive descriptions of how to build a tabernacle. Don’t get me wrong, I know that all these things have meaning and reason and order. In fact, I ask God as I read these things to teach me what I need to learn.

Even so, the rebel sigh still escapes my lips as I see a mind numbing list of names I have no hope of pronouncing. So I closed my Bible in my fatigue on March 27th, wondering why I needed a recap of what I just read about who Israel had defeated in their conquest of the Promised Land.

Sweet Rest...

Today as I wrestled with doubts, frustrations, wondering why God is bringing me down a certain road, pondering longing and it remaining unfulfilled, questioning my next steps, I opened my Bible to get caught up. Not only to say I had read my Bible for March 28th, but also to spend some quiet with my LORD. Oh how I needed quiet.

In that raw place I my eyes read Joshua 12 with the heading “A List of Defeated Kings.” My first inclination was to sigh, but my sigh caught in my throat as I came face to face with what I needed. What I need when doubt attempts to tie me down and fear attempts to turn me from my God ordained plow. I need a list. I need a list of kings defeated in my life – defeated only by God’s hand.

I need a list of sin I have overcome through God, of God ordained “coincidences,” of victories in my Spiritual Journey. I need a list. A list that I can bring out to remind myself what God has done and what He is doing in my life. A list that drives away doubt, that reminds me of God’s miraculous provision, that screams of God’s sovereignty during dark times, that recounts when God ordered my steps for His purposes. Yes I need a list in my life, a prayer journal full of God’s answers, a blog recounting what God has taught me, a friend or loved one who walked the road with me and can remind me of my list.

Do you have a list? How do you keep your list? Do you want to start one? I challenge you to start a list with me…Tuesdays at Rethinking My Thinking will become our List Days. Days to share what God is doing in our lives. I can’t wait to hear what He is doing in your lives!

What a Break Does to Me

March 28, 2011 § 10 Comments

Last week was Spring Break. I loved it. I loved sleeping in (sort of you know kids don’t really ever sleep in), I enjoyed having friends over (tremendously), and I got to see my family (haven’t seen them since Thanksgiving). Oh, but my body prefers routine. I was unable or unwilling to get in bed when I needed and up when I needed. I did not use the work-out clothes I so dutifully packed nor did I monitor how much I was eating. (My mom and sisters can cook!)

So when I got my weary rear-end in bed last night I planned on getting up early and getting my blog post done and a few other things to make the first day back to school go smoothly…It didn’t happen that way. First I stayed up way to late…Then I must have turned my alarm off in my sleep. However God did graciously wake me up. There was no time for a blog post, and I had to decide between quiet time and shower. I chose quiet time thinking that I could just drop the girls off and quickly run home.

I woke my kids and they did GREAT getting ready this morning! I was so proud of them. We got downstairs and I realized I didn’t have milk. I had a few swallows for each kid, but that is it. So I knew I had to go to the store unshowered, but dressed, face washed, and teeth brushed (my hair was in a hat). No biggie…Most likely I won’t run into anyone I know.

I even had time to make two lunches this morning and to fry some eggs…Not for me, but I was going to get breakfast after that quick jaunt to the store…All was well, we got out the door in record time and headed to school. As I went to drop off E and L, I realized it was honor’s chapel for E. UGH!

Maybe she won’t want me to come, I thought as I turned to ask her if she wanted me there. Since I hadn’t showered, her answer was YES she needed me there. 😉 So here is a picture of what I looked like this morning for your enjoyment. I was thankful to see a few other mothers in hats and sweats, but I am afraid I took the grungy prize! 😉

And so I continue to count the things for which I am thankful for:

326. Spring weather

327. Outdoor play time

328. Friends that point me to Him

329. Clouds to keep the temperature comfortable

330. Children playing with friends

331. Growing children

332. Precious time on my knees

333. Sound of running water

334. Sound of my kids working together

335. Clouds parting in the early evening to let the sun through

336. Time with extended family

337. Baby Finely is home and doing well

338. Safe travels

339. My kids love their cousins

340. My J is all boy

341. My E still wants me around

342. My L loves babies

343. My husband loves to play with the kids

344. Audiobooks

345. God’s perfect direction

346. Snow up north as we drove south toward home

347. Friends

348. Learning to speak in grace

349. God woke me up this morning

350. We were on-time to school

351. I got to see E’s honor’s chapel

352. The Japanese Maple in the backyard is a beautiful red

353. Spring blooms

354. My washer and dryer

355. My new Jayhawk gear (yes I know they lost yesterday)

356. The built-in griddle on my stove

357. That I know how to use a stethoscope and I know what I am listening for

358. Cool coffee because I can never seem to drink it when I pour it

359. Clouds parting to show blue skies

360. The beautiful colors of sunrise

361. Other moms in hats and sweats at honors chapel

What are you thankful for? Does having a break make it difficult for you to stay on task? I can’t wait to hear what you think and what you are thankful for! Blessings to you all for this wonderful Monday!

Smiles…And Good News

March 25, 2011 § 1 Comment

“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” Proverbs 15:30

Do you choose to wear a cheerful look? Are you the bearer of good news or do you enjoy bringing bad news?

What are some ways you try to bring joy to those around you? Are you helping bring health to the bones of those you influence?

Just some questions I was pondering today…Can’t wait to hear what you think…

I know that I don’t often have a cheerful look nor do I often bring good news. UGH! I don’t want to be a downer, but often I dwell on the down side rather than the up side. Solomon reminds us that not only what we say, but the expression we wear can help our attitudes and that of those around us…

Here is my early morning cheery look courtesy of my father, William C. Farris:

How about you? What helps you be a cheerful look giver and a good news bearer? Can’t wait to hear!

Why is it So Hard?

March 24, 2011 § 4 Comments

If you have been reading my blog regularly, you know I am memorizing James and I am praying on my knees for at least 15 minutes a week. Are you joining me? Let me know by leaving a comment and telling me about where you are in James or what God has been doing in your prayer time.

Anyway, I have made it to James 3 and here came this verse:

We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. James 3:2

First I am struck with we all stumble…Not only do we stumble, but we stumble in many ways. OUCH! That is pretty harsh. I don’t like to admit that I stumble at all and now James is telling me that we all stumble in many ways. Then he mentions our words. Yes our words…If we are never at fault in what we say, we are perfect. Seems simple right?


So why is it so hard? Why can’t we never be at fault in what we say? Why do words matter so much that if we could keep our tongue in check we would be perfect?

Words…I want to use life-giving words. I want to pass on wise words, words of grace, words of truth. But too often my words are harsh, they tear down, they convey irritation.

Words are that important. Jesus confirms this when He says, “For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45b)

We speak what is in our hearts. If our hearts are in check our words will be in check…So our words are a good indicator of the condition of our hearts. Are we speaking in love and with patience or are we irritated and grumpy? God is more interested in our hearts than our actions. We can fake a lot of things, but our words often give away where our hearts are…

Let’s do some heart checks. We need to think about what we have said, ask others if what we say is harsh or said in love. We need to measure our words carefully. They are important.

What do you think? Are words really something that can “never hurt me” unlike sticks and stones? Is it possible that words are important and that they show the condition of our hearts? Do you have a story about that? I can’t wait to hear it!

Here is another post I did on the Word…Click here to read it.

Mentors and Mentees

March 23, 2011 § 2 Comments

“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

What a great promise that God is there before us, is with us, and never leaves us. Do you know who is speaking these words? It is Moses, the man who talked to God as a man talks to his friends. He was the man that led the Israelites out of Egypt. He was talking to Joshua, the man who was going to lead these headstrong people into the promised land.

So you have a man who has walked with God, a man who has seen God work in his life. He has made mistakes and yet God continues to use him. He is building into the life of a younger man.

Are you a mentor for others? Are you like Moses experiencing God in your daily life, living for Him, and sharing what He is doing? Do you have a mentor? Are you watching someone who has walked through your stage of life? Do you have someone telling you wonderful truths about God and His grace and faithfulness?

I encourage you to share with others what God is teaching you through His word and to find someone who will encourage you in your relationship with God.

Consider praying that God gives you mentor and mentee opportunities in your life. Pray that God will give you eyes to see Him working in your life that you may share what He is doing.

If you have a mentor would you share how you developed that relationship? If you are a mentor would you also share how you developed the relationship?

I can’t wait to hear from you!

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