Friday, September 26, 2008

Do I Trust You, Lord?

by Marsha Loftis

This Week’s Verse: John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

If you haven’t heard about the “stuff” going on at TRW then you must live in a cave just outside of town. It might even be next door to mine. That’s where I usually am. In my cave, safe, protected, “in the dark” sometimes, but I do love my cave! Since I’ve worked thirds or the overnight shift a lot of my life I’ve grown used to the cave and even fond of it. Most of the time it’s just me and my daughter here. I kinda like that part. One of these days she will want to exit the cave, I know, but for right now, she likes being here with me as much as I like being here with her.

Last week I found out my shift would be "dissolved". Which, when translated to ‘cave-talk’ means: “Uh-oh.” So, I did the three things I always do: #1) I freaked out; #2) I prayed; and #3) I called my mom. (These aren’t always in the same order. The line-up varies with every situation. And yes, they can overlap one another, and often do.)

During “Freak Out” Mode, I called my mom. I had to leave her a message. Not always a good thing while I’m in this ‘mode’. I forgot to tell her that I had a chance at another position on another shift. Whoopsy! My bad! She picked up my daughter and told her what she thought was going on… I was losing my job. Then, being from the same cave, my daughter naturally went into “freak out” mode too.

We were both still in the same mode when I finally got the chance to talk to her and get things straightened out. I found myself comforting my daughter by saying things like, “You don’t have to worry about this…It’s going to be okay…You’re going to be fine…I love you and I’m gonna take care of you.” I was thinking ‘parental’ and it seemed natural.

Then I heard my favorite still small voice saying to me, “You don’t have to worry about this, it’s going to be okay, you’re going to be fine, I love you and I’m gonna take care of you. You call me ‘Father’ every day; why won’t you let me ‘parent’ you?”

Whoa! Talk about freaking out! It wasn’t exactly audible, but I clearly knew who was speaking to me and what I supposed to do. Trust Him. Then I prayed. I prayed first for forgiveness for not praying in the first place. Then I prayed to accept the comfort He, My Father, was offering me.

I kept thinking My peace I leave with you over and over again. That was all I could remember, but it was enough to get me through ‘til I could get to my Bible and look it up. It’s from John 14:27 and that’s not the only thing it says. It reads, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Later on, in the next paragraph it says, “…so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.”

Whoa. I take that to mean: NOW, not only can I NOT freak out, but I better not let anyone else see me freaking out! So that the world, or cave translation, The People I Work With, know that I love God and I trust Him. Oh, and my daughter too!

To make a short story long… When times are tough we are to be a witness to those around us. The ones far away and the ones so very close. My human-ness wants to sit around and cry and say “Uh-oh” and run around like a chicken with my head cut off thinking now what am I gonna do? My one-ness with the Holy Spirit wants me to fall on my face and say “I trust you” because I know that His peace is with me.

Father, let me always come to you first. Help me to put my trust and faith in You and You alone. Help me to filter out all the other voices in my head and concentrate on only the still small One. Your peace is with me now and forever. Help me to accept the gifts and promises You willingly give. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

It’s okay to spend a little time in “the cave,” but when you come out remember: The world is watching. What will they see?

Power Verses:
2 Samuel 22:30-32, “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried. He is a Shield to all those to take refuge and trust in Him.” (AMP)
Jeremiah 29:11, “I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out--plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (MSG)
Psalm 9:10, “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (NIV)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Keep It Simple...

by Bethany Lashbrook

This Week’s Verse: Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (KJV)

As we are most all aware, as soon as our children become “school-aged” the evenings quickly disappear. Our evenings are filled with soccer practice, games, and gymnastics for the kids, and meetings, church activities, and home chores for the adults! In between the running is healthy meal choices, homework, the dreaded “bath nights” and hopefully a good amount of time to sit and just talk and hang out with our children. Which shamefully, at this young age, does not happen daily. Some days become so hectic after school I wonder what the meaning of all of it is. Somehow, in the midst of this running, something like a red stoplight upsets me. I become rushed, upset, and frankly sometimes just downright ignorant with how I handle these situations.

And then, I am reminded of a saying that an eighth grade teacher taught me years ago. He would say K.I.S.S. – an acronym for “Keep it Simple Stupid”. Funny. Charming. Whimsical. True. It’s that easy.

There are many verses in the bible that remind us to keep it simple. I have recently picked up a small book that fits in my purse called One-Minute Pocket Bible for Women. It is filled with verses for every occasion. A lot of these verses are just one-liners, but it is these I cherish most. Here is a sample of these wonderful verses that keep me level-headed during my “red-light” moments.

When I wonder if I can undertake a task—such as soccer practice at five, and gymnastics in Paris at six: “For the Lord will be your confidence” (Proverbs 3:26a).

When I feel restless—which lately seems to be every night of the week: “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him” (Lamentations 3:25).

When something (anything) has upset me: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

When my youngest daughter is playing in the toilet—something she did this week: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3).

When I start to doubt—questions like am I raising my children to become children of the Lord: “Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes’” (Mark 9:23).

When I am sitting with the other parents during all these practices, and my ears hear a bit of juicy gossip: “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37).

There are many books out there that contain messages such as “How to…” but I must remember, there is already an instruction booklet for me. It is even available in different versions that may suit me best. It is available to me at almost every bookstore. It’s old – yes, but trustworthy. It’s long, but it has many short chapters and verses so I don’t have to feel overwhelmed while reading it. And best of all – the messages in this book, the Bible, help me to keep things simple in a life that’s becoming increasingly more complex.

Lord, thank You so much for providing us with a book we call Your own. Thank You for its God-breathed words, its truth and its ability to help me at any given moment in my life. Lord, open my eyes to see Your message, my ears to hear Your word, my heart to let the holy spirit guide me and my mouth to spread Your word. In Jesus’ Name, I pray, Amen.

*Are you trying to keep things simple, or do you find yourself in a jumbled mess? Open the Bible, find some key verses, and begin calming yourself by posting these verses in spots where you see them often such as a bathroom mirror, your car radio, or in your purse.
*Pick up a small Bible or an easy read for your wait time at your children’s practices. This calms the spirit and the mind and is a wonderful refresher for days gone badly at the office!

Power Verses:
Ephesians 6:17
, “Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (NLT)
John 15:7, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (KJV)
Psalm 19:7, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.” (NIV)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ya-Hoo in the To-Do

by Kathy Lay

This Week's Verse: 1 Cor. 10:31, "Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God." (NLT)

Rolling out of bed this morning, did every task of the day infiltrate your thoughts? Did your to-do list overwhelm you? Or did it cross your mind what a drag it can be just keeping up with the daily grind? It's so easy to feel caught in a rut since the details of life can seem menial and sometimes meaningless.

But God desires joy for you even in those ruts. In fact, you can bring Him glory there. As today's verse indicates, what you do sometimes matters much less to God than how you do it.

Anyone can wipe down the kitchen for the third time in one day, but not everyone does it while rockin' a praise song.

Anyone can re-do a project at work because the boss gave the wrong instructions the first time, but not everyone does it without grumbling.

Anyone can go elbow deep in the toilet to work on a rust stain, but many aren't willing to do it at all, much less happily.

As undignified or “un-fun” as some tasks seem, they can bring glory to God if you approach them with a servant's heart. Remember Jesus illustrating this to the disciples by washing their filthy feet? And yet He was happy to do it.

Now you—purposefully chosen you—are being used to bless others who might not even show appreciation. But dear one, rest assured, there's One beaming down at you, pleased at your willingness to do all things for His glory. Can you feel His pleasure?

Dear Lord, come with me as I tackle my to-do list today. Help me to see each task –even eating and drinking—as an opportunity to glorify You by being content and self-controlled. How I want to feel Your pleasure as I submit all I do to Your glory.

What’s on your to-do list that bores you to tears? What on it do you dread? Write down ways you could bring glory to God in doing those tasks, then put them into practice.

Power Verses:
1 Peter 4:9
, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”(NIV)
Ecclesiastes 5:20, “He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.”(NIV)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Worth the Wait

by Kathy Lay

This Weeks’ Verse: Rev. 22:20-21, “The one who is testifying to these things says, ‘Yes, I'm coming soon!’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! The good will of the Lord Jesus be with all of you. Amen!” (GW)

Were your parents ever late picking you up from school or some other event when you were young? As the minutes crept by and you watched the other kids get picked up one by one, you began to feel uneasiness sweep over you. As more time passed, you were overtaken by a horrible feeling as you imagined the worst: what if they forgot and are at home waiting for me? Or what if they were in an accident?

But finally as the familiar car approached, you felt the weight lifted from your shoulders as you realized that your caretakers, the ones you relied on for everything, were just fine. You rode home together happily as they reassured you that they'd never forget you, they'd simply taken a little longer than expected.

If you're at a point in your life where you're growing restless watching others being picked up and tended to in the expected timing, take heart, precious Sister. The Lord promises that He will be coming soon, and at just the perfect time. Take your eyes off the others as you watch for His coming—not only for all eternity, but until then—in your life every day.

Close your eyes and envision the One you rely on for everything riding in and taking you on the ride of your life. He will, you know, if you're up for it—both here on earth and in eternity. In His perfect timing. Isn’t that worth the wait?

Father, I confess the sin of my impatience when my prayers aren't answered in my way or in my timing. Help me to wait on You, clinging to Your promise that You are coming soon. I wait in expectation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What are you waiting for? In what areas of your life does it feel like God isn’t doing what He “should” be doing? Resolve to wait, focused on Him, knowing He promises to come soon, at the appointed time.

Power Verses:
Zechariah 14:6
, “What a Day that will be! No more cold nights—in fact, no more nights! The Day is coming—the timing is God's—when it will be continuous day. Every evening will be a fresh morning.” (MSG)
Micah 7:7, “But me, I'm not giving up. I'm sticking around to see what God will do. I'm waiting for God to make things right. I'm counting on God to listen to me.”(MSG)
Hebrews 12:2, “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”(NLT)