Monthly Archives: November 2013

Cut to the Heart and I’m to Blame

bigstock-Bloody-kitchen-knife-isolated--36020614I’ve been stabbed. Again.

Scripture compares God’s Word to a sword and boy, did I get it this week. Check out this verse:

Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn His wrath away from him. (Proverbs 24: 17-18 NIV)

Have you been there?

That smirk, that grin when your not-so-favorite person gets what’s coming? Perhaps it’s an annoying classmate, an over-talkative mom in your book club, or a business associate. It could even be—Gasp!—a sibling.

But check God’s reaction. He is not only concerned with justice for your bad guy, He’s also concerned with your attitude.

Ouch! No gloating? No feelings of revenge or superiority? Even when they deserved it?

Nope.

Aww, man!

I know. Me too, but stay with me. What is God wanting to see instead?

Perhaps a recognition that all sin is ugly and never something to rejoice over.

Maybe an understanding that the next sin could be our own.

Possibly an extension of grace—‘cause that’s what I’d want if I was hurting. James reminds us, “Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

Allow God to deal with your not-so-favorite someone. Stay vigilant and keep your heart pure lest you, like me, find yourself on the cutting end of God’s sword.

Questions:

Define justice.

Is a desire for justice right or wrong?

How can it get twisted?

Have you been gloated over?

Have you done some gloating?

How does a change in perspective change our attitude?

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Football 101: Holding On

bigstock-Overhead-photo-of-an-American--24720269“Fumble!” My walls shake with the sound waves and I know every neighbor within a half-mile radius can hear my husband. You see, fall means football at our house. As a mother of three boys, receivers and safeties, and wife to a former quarterback, I faced spending the autumn months in solitude—or learning the game. I learned quickly and I can run pass routes like the pros.

So here’s a little Football 101: Fumbles.

When a player drops the ball, it’s called a fumble. The offense (the guys with the ball) tries to advance the ball in hopes of scoring, so dropping the thing is bad. Bad because if you happen to fall on the ball and get it back, you just lost a play and you only get four shots to go ten yards. Bad because if you weren’t lucky enough to get the ball back, you just lost your turn and now the other guys have it. Bummer.

God was prepping for football analogies back in Old Testament times. Check out this verse from 1 Samuel 3:19:

The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he (Samuel) let none of his (God’s) words fall to the ground.

I love this verse. We are talking about Samuel’s growing up years, from preschool to his hairy-legged, smelly teenaged years. And what defined those years?

“ . . . he (Samuel) let none of his (God’s) words fall to the ground.”

No fumbles.

He may have been sacked, tackled, and dog piled, but he never fumbled.

Coach Jimmy Johnson often told his players to “Hold on” instead of “Don’t fumble” because in the noise of the game, the tendency was to hear “…fumble.” Then they would. However, all players know to yell when the ball squirts out because it alerts anyone near the ball to get on it. To this day, when a player drops the ball, my husband screams, “Fumble!” Why?

Because recovering what has been dropped is critical.

So, how’s your ball handling? Are you holding on to God’s Word? Do you clutch it loosely in one hand as you scramble? Does it slip off your fingers for an incomplete pass? If you fumble, do you fall on the ball in an attempt to recover it?

Assistant Coach Samuel yells from the sidelines, “Hold on!”

Questions:

How much contact do you have with God’s Word? How often do you read the playbook?

Rate your practice time (Home life):

Holding Tight     Loosey Goosey     Incomplete Pass     Fumble

How does your practice affect your game time—real world situations requiring you to apply God’s Word?

How do you think Samuel held on?

How can you hold on too? Memorize? Read? Meditate on one verse? Music?

Pick one thing to try this week.

What might a recovery look like?

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Fork in the Road

bigstock-Fork-In-The-Road-11711951

Decisions.

Left or right? Band or drama? Soccer or football? Stocks or CD’s? Move or stay? Promotion with travel or status quo and more family time?

If you’re five or fifty-five, you’re facing decisions. Some minor, others major. How do you know which way is right?

Nike says, “Just do it.”

God says, “Just ask.”

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 NIV)

Giving without faultfinding.

How gracious he (God) will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you . . . Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:19b, 21 NIV)

Clarity: this is the way.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3 NIV)

He wants you to call. And He has the answers.

One thing though.

You have to be still.

And listen.

Sometimes for days.

Days? Days.

Yikes! You know what this means, don’t you? This means time out of your busy schedule. Or perhaps you use your between times more wisely. Time between school and practice. Time between work and home. Time between dinner and bed.

Time.

God speaks through many things: a verse from His Word or lyrics from a song on the radio. But if your ears and heart aren’t prepped to listen, you’re not tuned in to the signal.

And you’ll miss it.

Because busyness is loud.

And God is quiet.

Oh, He speaks, but don’t expect Him to shout over the noise of a packed schedule.

If you want His guidance, His advice, His two cents, then be still.

Prepare your heart by spending time with Him—without distractions. Put up your spiritual sails and wait. When the breeze of the Holy Spirit begins to blow—you’ll not only catch it, but you’ll also be on course. The right one.

Questions:

When was the last time you were still before God? Quiet, no distractions, just sitting at His feet?

What helps you block out distractions so you can focus on Him?

When did you last ask God for guidance?

How did it go? Keeping track of His answers will keep you pointed towards Him in the future.

Is there anything for which you would not ask God’s help? Why?

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Heavy Lifting

bigstock-Woman-with-her-personal-fitnes-44726662Weights are not my thing. Pinned by the bench press, I feel like a cartoon character with squeaky sound effects while my husband effortlessly lifts weight in three digit numbers.

Down days can pin me too if I’m not careful. When my heart is heavy, I tend to withdraw. Escape. Hole up. And if I don’t watch it, I’m pinned and the negative emotions press on my chest like too much weight on the bar.

Thankfully, God provides a spotter.

Proverbs 25:20 says, “Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” I know we hit this verse recently, but it came up again during my quiet time and something jumped out at me. When we looked at this verse before, we talked about the need to refresh others. What caught my eye this time was how.

Sing songs.

God points to music when our hearts feel heavy and we need spotting. Look at these verses:

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:19-20 NIV)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16 NIV)

Not only does Paul encourage us to share psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, but he also ties songs—specifically spiritual songs—to an attitude of gratitude.

Why?

Because depression and negativity find it hard to get a grip when we give thanks. Because self-pity withers and dies in the face of gratefulness.

So, take a deep breath and push. Put on some tunes and sing with a thankful heart. You’ll be amazed at what you can bench.

Questions:

What weighs you down?

What do you do when you are sad?

What Christian music encourages you?

How does music help you transition to a positive outlook and a thankful spirit?

Assemble a heavy day playlist.

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