Life is Short

life

My heart was heavy and my mind was reminiscing as I drove to the church on Saturday. I was attending a memorial service for a man I had never met. I knew his name. I had seen pictures, but I had never had the privilege of sitting and talking with him. The only thing I knew about him was the woman he had married; an old friend of mine.

My friend was someone I met over twenty years ago. We met at church and realized we had the most important thing in common. We both loved the beach; still do. Way back, when I had no husband and children, we would get up almost every Saturday morning and head over to the coast for a day of relaxation. We’d set our chairs up on the edge of the water and soak in the warm sun. I am convinced there’s a beach in heaven. There is simply no better place on earth.

When I got married, my friend was one of my bridesmaids and she sang. I remember looking over at her singing that day but having to look away because I was about to burst into tears. It’s funny the things you remember. On Saturday, I became teary eyed again as I watched my friend sing at her husband’s memorial service. Her voice brought back so many memories. You see, it had been probably ten years or so since I had seen my friend.

After the service ended I made my way to see her. She gave me a big hug and I burst into tears. I told her I was so sorry. And she responded, “You never got to meet him.” You know, the older I get the shorter life seems. You think you’ll do it tomorrow. You expect everything will remain the same but it never does. There are no guarantees.

So, my question is, if we knew when our last day on this earth would be, what would we do with it? How would we spend our time? Who would we talk to? What would we say to them?

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12 NIV)

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A Change of Heart

video

“Thank you Lord that we have a roof over our heads. Thank you for the food on the table. Thank you for giving us all that we need and also things we want. Amen.” Those were some words Jonah, my 12-year-old prayed last night. My hubby looked athim and asked, “Where did that come from?” I just smiled.

Last week, Jonah was arguing the point that if I were to go and get a job, we could afford more stuff. He was specifically thinking of a video game console along with games and a cell phone. I guess I have used, “We can’t afford it,” as my standard answer when he asks for something. This time we had a discussion about wants and needs. Apparently, it made an impression because last night his prayer was one of thankfulness rather than requests.

Jonah didn’t get to this opinion overnight. He obviously spent some time thinking about our talk. We talked about why I stay home and how important it is to and his Dad and me. We also talked about what we do have. For some, it may not seem like much but when we started to look at what we had, he saw we did have more than we needed. His opinion didn’t change just because I said so. It was altered because our discussion went to the heart.

Transformation doesn’t happen the instant we are saved. These things take time. They take work. Mostly they require a spirit willing to learn. Some lessons are painful and humbling. Others come through scripture or a sermon. But the idea is that change happens gradually. We can’t expect a lifetime of bad habits to disappear because we follow Jesus. He gently takes one at a time and shows us what He desires for that area of our lives.

Let God take the time He needs to work in your heart. He doesn’t expect perfection, only a teachable heart. It will happen.

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. (Romans 8:25-26 NIV)

And for the record, I fully expect Jonah to continue to ask for stuff. Only now, I won’t tell him we can’t afford it, I’ll ask him if we really NEED it. He’s already working up a plan to save his own money for any “wants” he might have:)

A Change of Heart

video

“Thank you Lord that we have a roof over our heads. Thank you for the food on the table. Thank you for giving us all that we need and also things we want. Amen.” Those were some words Jonah, my 12-year-old prayed last night. My hubby looked athim and asked, “Where did that come from?” I just smiled.

Last week, Jonah was arguing the point that if I were to go and get a job, we could afford more stuff. He was specifically thinking of a video game console along with games and a cell phone. I guess I have used, “We can’t afford it,” as my standard answer when he asks for something. This time we had a discussion about wants and needs. Apparently, it made an impression because last night his prayer was one of thankfulness rather than requests.

Jonah didn’t get to this opinion overnight. He obviously spent some time thinking about our talk. We talked about why I stay home and how important it is to and his Dad and me. We also talked about what we do have. For some, it may not seem like much but when we started to look at what we had, he saw we did have more than we needed. His opinion didn’t change just because I said so. It was altered because our discussion went to the heart.

Transformation doesn’t happen the instant we are saved. These things take time. They take work. Mostly they require a spirit willing to learn. Some lessons are painful and humbling. Others come through scripture or a sermon. But the idea is that change happens gradually. We can’t expect a lifetime of bad habits to disappear because we follow Jesus. He gently takes one at a time and shows us what He desires for that area of our lives.

Let God take the time He needs to work in your heart. He doesn’t expect perfection, only a teachable heart. It will happen.

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. (Romans 8:25-26 NIV)

And for the record, I fully expect Jonah to continue to ask for stuff. Only now, I won’t tell him we can’t afford it, I’ll ask him if we really NEED it. He’s already working up a plan to save his own money for any “wants” he might have:)

A Change of Heart

video

“Thank you Lord that we have a roof over our heads. Thank you for the food on the table. Thank you for giving us all that we need and also things we want. Amen.” Those were some words Jonah, my 12-year-old prayed last night. My hubby looked athim and asked, “Where did that come from?” I just smiled.

Last week, Jonah was arguing the point that if I were to go and get a job, we could afford more stuff. He was specifically thinking of a video game console along with games and a cell phone. I guess I have used, “We can’t afford it,” as my standard answer when he asks for something. This time we had a discussion about wants and needs. Apparently, it made an impression because last night his prayer was one of thankfulness rather than requests.

Jonah didn’t get to this opinion overnight. He obviously spent some time thinking about our talk. We talked about why I stay home and how important it is to and his Dad and me. We also talked about what we do have. For some, it may not seem like much but when we started to look at what we had, he saw we did have more than we needed. His opinion didn’t change just because I said so. It was altered because our discussion went to the heart.

Transformation doesn’t happen the instant we are saved. These things take time. They take work. Mostly they require a spirit willing to learn. Some lessons are painful and humbling. Others come through scripture or a sermon. But the idea is that change happens gradually. We can’t expect a lifetime of bad habits to disappear because we follow Jesus. He gently takes one at a time and shows us what He desires for that area of our lives.

Let God take the time He needs to work in your heart. He doesn’t expect perfection, only a teachable heart. It will happen.

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. (Romans 8:25-26 NIV)

And for the record, I fully expect Jonah to continue to ask for stuff. Only now, I won’t tell him we can’t afford it, I’ll ask him if we really NEED it. He’s already working up a plan to save his own money for any “wants” he might have:)

Cherished

42: Daily Inspirational Bible Verse

(Photo credit: [Share the Word])

Jonah’s best buddy is a neighborhood boy named Charlie. He lives one street away and they became friends about a year ago. Jonah has a bunch of kids he plays with, but he and Charlie are best friends.  We are thankful our boy found such a good friend. The other day, they had a fight and Jonah came home alone. We talked about what he did and after he slept on it, Jonah decided he needed to make amends with Charlie. So, that morning, he went over to apologize.

He was surprised by Charlie’s reaction. He told Jonah he didn’t even remember the argument. He didn’t remember Jonah being mean. He had forgotten about the whole thing. Jonah was relieved and they’ve been inseparable ever since.

I think a lot can be learned from Charlie. You see, his focus was not on what Jonah did wrong. He knew Jonah’s heart and didn’t base his whole opinion on Jonah’s sin. He didn’t look at Jonah and only see his mistake. That is how Jesus looks at us after we sin. He doesn’t condemn us for one wrong move. He doesn’t focus on our mistake. Our sin is always an avenue to grace and forgiveness. Somehow we miss this with others and with ourselves.

I’m reading the story of Saul. David hasn’t entered the story, but in my reading today Samuel told Saul that God has chosen”a man after his own heart” to be king over Israel. God knew David’s heart. He knew David’s deepest desire was to love Him. That’s why he was chosen. God also knew the sin David would commit. But that didn’t stop him from choosing David. It didn’t keep Him from leading David to be a great warrior and king. Instead of condemnation, God focused on David’s heart.

I don’t know if it’s our sin nature or simply the subtle promptings of the enemy, but tend to focus on the negative. We condemn each other based on a single behavior or sin. We judge each other as if we ourselves have achieved perfection. We do it with our spouses. We do it with our children. We do it with our friends. And we do it with ourselves. If the enemy can keep us distracted with sin, then we are unable to concentrate on the Lord’s love.

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 NIV)

Forgiving ourselves is one of the most difficult things to grasp. We forget that once we ask for forgiveness, God forgives. He doesn’t rehash it. He doesn’t constantly remind us. He doesn’t declare us unfit for His work or His kingdom. He simply forgives. So, why can’t we forgive ourselves? I think the enemy is right there reminding us of our mistakes and sins. I think he takes great delight in making us feel worthless. He works very hard to convince us we could never be used of God. But the truth is God uses sinners. He uses people who have messed up. He even chooses the least likely candidates to accomplish His purpose.

I don’t know where you find yourself today. But I hope you know, regardless of your sin, you are dearly loved. When God looks at you, He doesn’t see your sin, no matter how horrible, He only sees His cherished child.

For you are a people, holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out

of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.”

(Deut. 7:6 NIV)

(This blog has been on my heart for over a week. I finally sat down Saturday morning to write it out. I attended church Saturday night to hear my pastor preaching on grace and forgiveness. I pray those reading this will take God at His word and receive forgiveness.)